While most kids detested broccoli, I loved it. That’s probably because it was introduced to me smothered in cheese sauce or incorporated into a casserole. After a while, however, the need for cheese fell away, and I was able to appreciate broccoli all on its own. Broc is always on my supper table, but to make sure I recognized it as special during its month of seasonality, I decided to prep it in a completely different way.
First, boil one head of broccoli until it’s bright green and soft enough to be pureed – 4 minutes max. Drain in a colander and shock with cold water from the faucet. Then take half of the broccoli and place it in a food processor, or in my case, back in the pot for use with the trusty immersion blender. Add pine nuts, fresh parsley, salt, grated parmesan, and crushed red pepper. Blend, slowly adding olive oil til it reaches a consistency you’re good with.
Once your sauce is ready, cook the rest of the dish. Boil up your favorite pasta and cook some chicken. I chopped chicken into nugget size bites and sauteed with lemon pepper until it was cooked through (about 8 minutes – the same amount of time it takes to cook pasta). If I had garlic and mushrooms, that would have gone in the pan, too, but I forgot to pick them up from the store. Oops.
Toss the pasta together with the chicken and pesto, adding the chopped broccoli that you cooked but didn’t turn into sauce. Make sure you grab the pasta out of the pot with tongs vs. draining the whole pot. You’ll want to keep some of that pasta water to help get the sauce to the right consistency when you’re mixing it all together.
You’ll likely have some leftover pesto. This is what we like to call a good thing. This pesto is delicious and healthy and will work great as a dip or topping for any protein you want to cook up throughout the week.