I’ve shared my love for pesto with you a few times on this blog, but would you believe I’d never really thought beyond the classic recipe with basil and pine nuts? So when a friend said I could turn one of my favorite side dishes — roasted broccoli with garlic — into pesto? Mind blown.
I poked around the Internet to see if broccoli would be prepared differently, but it looked like the process was very similar. I decided to stick with roasting the broccoli instead of steaming it as some recipes suggested because I like the way it gets caramelized. You get the sweetness and that great nutty flavor gets enhanced.
- 2 bunches of broccoli (a little bit more than a pound), trimmed
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup and 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 3-7 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- sea salt
- red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 450. Wash the broccoli and dry thoroughly. Spread the broccoli on a cookie sheet (I suggest also using parchment for easy cleanup), toss in the crushed garlic and drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil. Season with sea salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Place in oven and roast for 10 minutes. Take the broccoli out and turn the pieces, and then put the sheet back in for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for a bit.
Depending on how big your food processor is, you can do this all at once or in batches. I had to split mine in two. Place the broccoli in the processor, toss in the walnuts, drizzle with olive oil and set the machine to chop or grind. When the broccoli is finely chopped, turn off the machine, scrape the sides of the bowl (carefully avoiding the blades, of course). Add a bit more olive oil, if you like. Toss in the parmesan, adjust the seasoning and process until blended. Transfer to a bowl for serving.
I’ve enjoyed the pesto with pasta (thinning it slightly with a few teaspoons of the pasta water) and as a dip for crackers and pita chips. I’ve also used it in place of mayo for ham sandwiches. Basil pesto can keep in the freezer for up to a year, I’ve been told. I haven’t tried to see how long broccoli pesto would keep. Pesto doesn’t last long in my home as I could eat it morning, noon and night.