St. Basil the Great Pesto & Broccoli Pasta
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Quick, easy, and satisfying, this bright green and aromatic pesto dish comes together in just 20 minutes. A little uplifting mouthful of summer can make all the difference for me during the doldrums of a challenging week.
“Young men, you and I set little store by earthly existence. Things that merely improve this life have no true value for us; they are not what we call “the real thing.” Good family, athletic valor, a handsome face, tall stature, men’s esteem, dominion over others – none of these are important in our eyes or a petition fit for prayer; it is not our way to pay court to those who can boast them. Our ideals soar far above all that.” – St. Basil the Great
For the Basil Pesto
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the Broccoli
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups broccoli floret pieces
For the Pasta
- 1 pound uncooked pasta, such as rigatoni or penne
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Cook the walnuts in a dry skillet or sauté pan over medium heat and shake them so they toast evenly, about 3 minutes.
- Add the toasted walnuts to a blender or food processor, along with the basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Pulse for about 20 seconds until finely chopped.
- With the food processor or blender running on puree mode, slowly pour in the olive oil. Stop the food processor or blender and scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed, and pulse again until the pesto is a smooth and thick consistency.
- Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add the 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the pasta and cook, about 10 minutes, according to the package directions. Transfer the pasta to a colander to drain the water.
- While the pasta is boiling, cook the broccoli using the same skillet or sauté pan you cooked the walnuts in. Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high. Add the garlic and broccoli and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring often.
- Transfer the cooked broccoli and cooked pasta into the large bowl with the pesto. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve warm in individual bowls and garnish with fresh basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese. You can also add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, a light drizzle of olive oil, and a spoonful of ricotta. Leftover pesto pasta will keep well in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days.
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