This is a really flavoursome and substantial pasta, great for a hearty dinner when the weather is cold outside. An added bonus is that it’s full of nutrients and my kids will eat it without issue. Works just as well with whole grain pasta.
¾ lb (340 gr) broccoli florets
1 large clove fresh garlic
⅓ cup (80 mL) good quality extra virgin olive oil
½ cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
½ cup (125 mL) toasted walnuts (or other favourite nut, kids like almonds!)
2 cups (500 mL) fresh spinach leaves, washed
chili flakes to taste (optional)
1 lb (450 gr) orecchiette pasta (or other favourite short pasta)
freshly ground black pepper
1. Steam broccoli just until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Steam broccoli by any means, i.e. steamer oven, steamer basket, microwave.
2. Place steamed, hot broccoli in bowl of food processor along with garlic, olive oil, cheese, walnuts, spinach, chili flakes and salt to taste. Process until smooth, scraping down sides if needed, adding a splash of water if needed to loosen pesto. Place pesto in a large bowl.
3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions, be sure not to overcook the pasta, set a timer to help remember. Tip: there should be enough salt in the water so that you can taste it.
4. Cook pasta to al dente, reserve a cup of the cooking water. Drain pasta and immediately toss well in large bowl with pesto. Add a splash of cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. Top with additional olive oil, cheese and a grinding of fresh black pepper if desired.
Wine pairing: Terredora Falanghina 2014 (Campania, Italy)
Beer Pairing: Cameron’s Cream Ale (Ontario, Canada)