Broccoli is surprisingly sweet when roasted and makes the perfect base for this #meatfree Broccoli Pesto Pasta for #MeatlessMonday.
Not too long ago, we went to the opening of a local H Mart. H Mark is an Asian food market that offers up some other international flavors. Let me tell you, THIS was an experience! We arrived about 30 minutes before it opened and there was already a line around the building! WHAT THE …???
I honestly had no idea they were so popular. When we finally walked through the door, it was so jam-packed that you couldn’t help but run into people. And not in the, “Hey long time no see” style either. More along the lines of “pardon me, excuse me, didn’t mean to bump you” style.
Of course, it didn’t help that it immediately opened up into the produce section. They have some amazing produce there, too. That’s where I purchased mushrooms for the ULTIMATE Mushroom Swiss Burger I made not too long ago. I purchased the purple potatoes that are a hint of some fries for that dish, too. We got some delicious corn for like 19 cents an ear and some succulently ripe tomatoes that just tasted like summer.
We truly did shop the perimeter that day getting many vegetables and fresh meats we could elbow our way to purchasing. The aisles I will have to wander through and find delicious gems at a later date. It was just.too.crowded!
I actually can’t wait to peruse this store on a less crowded day. I have fond memories of me and my father wandering up and down every aisle of new grocery stores just to see what they had. I still love doing that; especially in international food markets such as H Mart. You just never really know what you’re going to find that you just can’t live without.
This broccoli was purchased that day. We had some delicious roasted broccoli and cauliflower but there was plenty of broccoli left over. And plenty of cauliflower, too, come to think of it. But I didn’t make cauliflower pesto; only broccoli pesto.
I roasted the broccoli for this pesto pasta the night before for our #MeatlessMonday meal. I’m trying to prep more on the weekends to make the weekdays a little easier when we get home. If I can save some time by slicing up some veggies or mixing up some sauce, then I’m all about that because traffic has really sucked you-know-what lately!
OMG!! If we home BEFORE 5:30 it’s amazing. One and a half hours to get him is just getting ridiculous! It’s never been consistently that bad since we moved. Granted, we would have a spike here and there of time it takes to get home, but it’s been consistently about 95 minutes or so. Not this past week!! I have no idea what has changed in the traffic pattern to cause it, but I hope whatever it is STOPS!
So, I roasted the broccoli the night before. I made the pesto the night before, too. I just wanted to be able to come home Monday, cook some pasta, make some garlic bread, and eat.
And that’s exactly what we did! I immediately put the pot of water on to boil then started the dishes instead of the other way around. Actually, I’ve started to do that a little more lately, too; especially if I’m boiling something. The dishes take almost as long to do as a pot of water takes to boil, so why not get a jump-start on dinner that way?
If you haven’t roasted broccoli, why not? It gets all nutty and delicious in the roasting process making it super tasty. That’s why I roasted the broccoli before putting this in the broccoli pesto pasta. Yes, I could have just steamed it, but it would not have tasted the same. That nutty sweetness makes this pesto fantastic.
I didn’t add a lot of basil to this pesto. I truly wanted to the broccoli flavor to shine through, but what’s pesto without basil? Yeah, I hear ya. There’s more than basil pesto out there. I talked my friend J into making a mustard greens pesto. She was convinced! Greens make great pesto. This I know. But for me, I wanted something to spice up the sauce so I chose the traditional basil.
I’m glad I did. The sweet nuttiness of the broccoli and flavor of the basil all blended with the cream and Parmesan make this a delicious – and I mean DE-licious – pesto sauce for any short pasta. If you want to use it with a longer noodle, you might want to add a little more cream. It’s a bit thick for long pasta, but it’s perfect for this penne rigate that I used.
We had some sauce left over that I thought would make a delicious spread for a sandwich or dip for veggies or pretzels. I’ve made some mean pesto but this one has been my favorite, so far. I hope it’s your favorite, too!
- 1/2 pound broccoli flourets
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup fat free half and half
- 1/2 cup reduced fat Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 cup chopped basil
- Preheat oven to 425. Place the broccoli flourets on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Lightly spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake at 425 for 10 to 15 minutes or until the broccoli is lightly browned and teder. Remove the broccoli from the oven and allow to cool 5.
- While the broccoli is cooking, bring a pot of water to boil and add the pasta.
- Place the broccoli in the bowl of a food processor and add the crea, garlic, Parmesan and basil. Process until smooth and creamy, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour the pesto over the how pasta and toss well to coat.