This quick recipe comes together in as little as 15 minutes, and makes a tasty vegan pasta dish. The flavorful broccoli pesto sauce coats whole wheat spaghetti (or pasta of your choice) for a rich meatless main course. It’s fast and foolproof, and tastes so good, it will please even the most stubborn broccoli skeptics. Recipe and photos contributed Andrea Soranidis of The Petite Cook.
Total time: 15 to 20 minutes
- 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
- 12-ounce package whole wheat spaghetti
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 leek, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
(rinse well after slicing to remove grit)
- 1/2 Thai red chili, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup reserved cooked broccoli florets from above
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon (reserve the zest)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon or so crumbled pistachio for garnish
In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook the broccoli florets for 4 to 5 minutes, or just until tender and still bright green.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the florets from the water into a bowl filled with cold water and ice, then drain and set aside. This will stop the cooking process and will help the broccoli keep its bright green color.
Add the spaghetti to the same pot and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with oil and add the sliced leek. Stir-fry for 1 minute, add chili and cook for another min. Turn the heat off and allow to rest.
Combine reserved broccoli florets, almonds, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a small blender or food processor. Give it a quick spin, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water into the broccoli mixture and blend until smooth and creamy. Add a little more water if necessary.
Add the cooked and drained spaghetti to the skillet and stir together with sautéed leeks and chili. Add ⅓ cup of broccoli pesto sauce, and the remaining florets. Cook the mixture for one minute.
Grate the zest of half lemon over the pasta mixture and season with a pinch of black pepper and crumbled pistachio. Serve immediately and enjoy!