The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Broccoli Cream Pesto

October 19, 2012 , ,

In case you live under a rock – Fall TV started up again. Which has brought the return of Terrific TV Tuesday… or Wednesday…or Thursday…depending on our moods.

I’ve lost all indulgent hope in GG. It has lost the scandalous luster that it once had five years ago but it is the last season and so we press on. Is it age? Or are things just more terrible? I have a hard time telling the difference sometimes. (I am more looking forward to Dexter and the Good Wife never mind the Walking Dead who’s season premier left me with the shakes.)

M and I’s fall tradition kicked off easy last week with the premiere of GG and this broccoli cream pesto recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Because of my lack of cooking and leftover 2 for 1 sales buys off of Fresh Direct I’ve had a serious surplus of random things – broccoli being one of them. So with that in mind it was easy to zero in on that recipe.

And it is delightful. It is also quite easy and unexpected which I very much like these days. To be in a rut is a terrible thing and there is nothing like taking the expected and making the unexpected. We could have very easily chopped and roasted this broccoli, sautéed in some garlic and red pepper flakes, tossed in pasta and there we have dinner. But no, adding two more steps (but alas, zero more pots) and ta-da, we have an enviable meal. Enjoy dear readers – this one is a keeper.

This is the original recipe, which can also be found here.

1/2 pound broccoli
1/2 pound dried spaghetti
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (or, more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper or pinches of red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons heavy cream
A heap of grated parmesan (about 1/2 cup), to serve

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

Remove broccoli florets from stems and chop into medium florets. Peel stems with a vegetable peeler (They will cook quicker and not be as tough and slice them into 1/2-inch segments.

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.

Bring fresh water to boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente, or about one minute less than fully cooked. Before draining pasta, reserve a cup of pasta cooking water and set it aside. Drain pasta.

Wipe out pot so that you can use it again. In the bottom of pot, melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add onion and reduce to medium-low, sautéing until tender, about 7 minutes.

Add garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add steamed broccoli, salt and red or black 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 and blend in short bursts until it’s finely chopped and a little sauce. I used my immersion blender (carefully) and it worked just fine. It will be a bit dry.

Add the broccoli sauce back to the pot with the drained spaghetti and a splash or two of the reserved pasta water. 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. Serve and shower spaghetti with grated parmesan.

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