Pasta with Broccoli-Pine Nut Pesto

We’re all familiar with what we consider to be the classic pesto—fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic—but did you know that in Italian, “pesto” simply means “paste?”  In Italian cuisine, pesto is made from just about any vegetable you can imagine.  This one will win you raves.  Richly flavored and brightly colored, with a creamy texture, this pesto smothers pasta with delicious flavor and disease-fighting antioxidants.    

Makes 4-5 servings

Ingredient List: 

2 stalks broccoli, small florets, stems peeled and diced
1 pound semolina fettucine
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup walnut pieces
2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon white miso
1 red bell pepper, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded and diced

Step By Step Instructions: 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook broccoli florets and stems until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.  In the same water, cook pasta al dente, 8-10 minutes.  Drain well, but do not rinse.

While the noodles cook, lightly pan toast pine nuts and walnuts, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Place nuts in a food processor with garlic, oil, vinegar, rice syrup and miso.  Puree until smooth.  Add broccoli and puree until a smooth, thick paste forms.  Add water only if pesto is too thick for your taste, but do not thin too much or it will not cling to the pasta.

To serve, simply toss pesto with hot noodles and transfer to a serving platter and serve, garnished with diced red pepper.