Broccoli Pesto

Serves 4

  • 1 pound uncooked penne rigate pasta
  • 1½ pounds fresh broccoli, cut into 2-inch florets, stems trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1¼ ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated (about ½ cup), plus more for garnish
  • 2 small garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons of fresh juice
  • 1 can (15-oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  1. To make roasted broccoli, toss broccoli florets, 2 tablespoons oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. 
  2. Roast in the oven until lightly browned and tender, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set aside. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Save ⅓ cup of the cooking water for later.
  4. To make the pesto, pulse broccoli stems, spinach, parsley and cheese in a food processor until combined. Add chopped garlic and lemon zest, and pulse until combined. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the remaining ½ cup olive oil; process until smooth. 
  5. Add ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper, and pulse in a blender. Transfer pasta to a large bowl. Add pesto, tossing to coat. Add beans and roasted broccoli; toss to combine. Add ¼ to ⅓ cup of reserved cooking water as needed, mixing until desired consistency is achieved. 
  6. Serve and garnish with grated cheese and red pepper flakes. 

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