I love pesto. Growing up, my grandmother used to make it for our family gatherings, and it was a treat. And then I learned how to make it myself, and in that process discovered that you don’t have to make it with basil – there is a whole world of vegetables that get blended together with herbs and garlic and other delicious things. One my favorites from a while back was an asparagus pesto on sfoglini pasta…but I digress.
The boy and I have been taking part in a CSA since last spring, and we’ve been overwhelmed of late with all kinds of vegetables stacking up during a time when it’s not conducive to use them (everyone else is cooking for us at holiday events). We were sorting through the vegetables on Sunday night, and I happened to run across a recipe at The Kitchn on Monday morning. It was a repeat – one I’d sent to myself to make in the past, but scanning the list of ingredients. I had nearly everything in my kitchen already except for the parsley. Since I was making a trip to the market anyways, why not try this one out? The recipe said it would be good for leftovers, and I needed lunch for a few days this week. Also, broccoli and feta are two of my favorite things. This recipe was looking like a win.
And oh, it was. It was so simple to make, and the flavors were bright from the lemon juice, with the right amount of salty bite from the feta. Putting it atop some whole wheat fusilli was also a good choice. There’s not a lot of oil like some pestos – just enough to make it saucy when you blend it. I had enough for myself, three days of leftovers, and a small serving for the boy as he walked in the door at the end of the day. He proclaims it “really good”. I agree.
Broccoli & Feta Pasta Sauce
1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 cup feta cheese, divided
1/4 cup water
Cut the broccoli into small florets and steam on the stove or in the microwave with the 2 tablespoons of water. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Cook the onion and garlic until it just begins to soften, and then add the broccoli. Cook for several minutes or until the onion turns translucent. Add the parsley and cook until it’s well-wilted. Pour in the lemon juice and simmer for about two minutes.
Transfer to a blender and add 1/4 cup of the feta cheese and the 1/4 cup water. Purée until smooth, adding a drizzle of olive oil and a little more water if it sticks and turns to a lump. Purée until as smooth or chunky as you prefer.
Taste and add any necessary additional salt and pepper. Serve with a good ridged pasta.
From: The Kitchn