A great definition of sauce from BrainyQuote.com—and a most fitting description of pesto. But it’s still winter and my garden basil is a distant memory and a future dream. What is in abundance at the moment is broccoli. Last year I tried a recipe for broccoli pesto and was underwhelmed. As it receives such good press, I decided to try it once again. Oh well, not much better the second time around. Major changes were in order.
Roasting the broccoli and garlic before preparing the pesto was/is the key to a full-flavored pesto that can be made even in the midst of winter. Wow! What a difference. With roasted broccoli and garlic, the broccoli flavor is more concentrated yet less sharp and the garlic sweeter and less assertive.
This is a great transition pesto from winter to spring, as it uses lots of broccoli and only a small amount of basil. Fortunately, many local markets now carry “living basil” which is a great alternative until our own basil becomes harvest-ready. (Though, when there is lots of fresh basil, Pesto Genovese remains my favorite.)
Nine Delicious Ways to Enjoy Roasted Broccoli Pesto
- Right out of the food processor on a spoon
- Blended into Baked Polenta (Part 2 in the Series)
- Stirred into grains
- Spread for sandwiches
- Mixed with hummus as a dip for vegetables
- Tossed with pasta, or this just in, spaghetti squash!
- Added to egg or chicken salad
- Thinned out as a salad dressing
- Swirled into soup
And, yes, thank you, I had a wonderful birthday even if I was in the midst of a cold–another gift from my husband.
Made with roasted broccoli and garlic, fresh basil and lemon juice
Pesto comes together in under a minute once the broccoli and garlic are roasted.
Makes about 1½ cups
½ pound broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, sliced
For the Pesto
½ cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
Scant ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
Few twists freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the broccoli crown from the stem and cut it into 1-inch florets. Peel the stems and thinly slice them. You should have about 5 cups of broccoli. Toss the broccoli with the olive oil, salt and garlic. Place on a parchment lined pan and bake for 20 minutes until tender and browned in spots. Remove from the oven.
When the broccoli is cool, put it and the garlic into the bowl of a food processor along with all the pesto ingredients except for the cheese. Use the pulse button to coarsely mix everything together. Add the cheese and pulse again to incorporate. This pesto ought to remain coarsely textured.
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