October 05, 2014

pasta with creamy broccoli lemon pesto

I'm not sure this picture is going to win any awards, but don't let that steer you away from making this delicious dish!  It is a great way to get your kids to eat broccoli if they don't seem to like those little "trees" and the lemon juice gives it the best flavor paired with the earthy broccoli and nutty parmesan!  You are going to love it!  This pasta would go well with BBQ chicken/pork if you prefer to add a meat.

Servings 4-6
Total Time 30 minutes

  • 1 pound of broccoli, chop the florets and stems into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon course salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 pound pasta (if you are making this gluten free make sure to grab the appropriate pasta)
  • 1 cup shredded asiago cheese, can substitute with parmesan (leave off for vegan or dairy free)


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for your pasta.

Use your pot of future pasta water to steam (by suspending a mesh strainer over your pasta pot and covering it with a lid for 5 to 6 minutes) or par-boil (for 3 to 5 minutes) your broccoli florets and stems until just tender, then drain if needed and set them aside.

Add pasta to water and cook until al dente. Before draining pasta, reserve a cup of pasta cooking water and set it aside.  Drain pasta.

Wipe out the pot and add the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add steamed broccoli, salt and pepper,  and turn the heat back up to medium-high, cooking it with the onion and garlic for a few additional minutes.

Pour cream over mixture and let cook for 30 seconds.

Transfer broccoli mixture and all of its creamy bits at the bottom of the pan to a blender or food processor, along with the lemon juice and almonds.  Puree and add in 1/4 cup of pasta water at a time, until you are happy with the consistency (I added 1/2 cup overall).  

Add the broccoli sauce back to the pot with the drained spaghetti and stir until well blended.  Cook over medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing the mixture so that it evenly coats. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt or pepper, and scoop into a serving bowl.

Top with plenty of asiago cheese and enjoy!! 

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