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Friday, April 13, 2012

Choppin' Broccoli

(If the title of this post doesn't make sense to you, watch this clip from YouTube...)

I am so happy that local broccoli is out in the stores, so I bought a big bunch, ready to celebrate the advent of spring!

Then the rains came down... and kept coming. And I started getting a case of cabin fever. I needed to shake myself out of my wish-it-was-spring funk, and as often happens, a good round of cooking cheered me right up.

I had heard of broccoli pesto before, so I thought I'd give it a try with the vegetables I had on hand. This recipe is basically a patchwork of several that I saw online, so if you don't trust it, google "broccoli pesto" and you'll have plenty of options to go out on your own. Go crazy. You won't be disappointed. I found this much lighter and distinct as a pesto. Some recipes also noted that it serves well as a dip or spread.

serves 4(?)

1 stalk of broccoli
1/4 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
2-3 large leaves of swiss chard (I had some in my garden)
A handful of chopped cabbage (remember, I just used whatever I had on hand)
1/3 c walnuts (you can also use pine nuts, but I find them a bit rich)
1 tb capers (I know, right? They brought a nice salty taste)
1-2 tb grated parmesan
1 tsp salt
1 tb lemon juice, plus zest if you have it
Whatever pasta strikes your fancy... use something with twists and ridges so the pesto has something to grab onto

1. Start steaming the broccoli. Once the water reaches a boil, steam it only for 3 minutes. I tossed in the chard and cabbage too.

2. In another saucepan, bring water to a boil, then cook your pasta.

3. Toss the walnuts in a skillet and briefly roast them.

4. While the pasta is cooking, put the broccoli, other vegetables, olive oil, salt, capers and lemon juice in a food processor (one recipe said to not use a blender because it will pulverize the steamed broccoli).  Pulse a few times. Now that there is a little more room in your food processor, put in the walnuts, the parmesan, and a dash more of lemon juice or olive oil if it's not smooth enough for you.

Don't forget, this pesto is a bit "fluffier" than a basil-based pesto. But Oh So Good.

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