Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Basil

This is a most amazing recipe that I got from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook. We don’t usually eat vegetarian, since I don’t feel like I have had a meal if there isn’t meat in it (those are called “appetizers,” usually), but this really hit the spot, and it makes a SPECTACULAR leftover (since a pound of pasta is a bit much for two adults and one toddler just discovering that he loves noodahs (noodles).

  • 1 pound noodles (tagliatelle is what is called for, but I used fettucine because my local grocery store doesn’t seem to carry tagliatelle, and I think the only difference is a slight width difference)
  • a package of fresh basil (even if you have the dried stuff, do yourself a favor and buy the fresh at least this once. You won’t believe how awesome it smells and tastes…mostly how awesome it smells. Your hand will smell like a eucalyptus tree all night — and that’s good!)
  • 1 medium potato (trust me)
  • salt (preferably kosher or sea, but regular would work too)
  • 1/4 cup green pesto (you can buy it in a jar at the grocery store, or make your own. This time I bought it, but I plan on making my own next time, because now I know this dish is worth the extra effort.)
  • 3 ounces grated parmesan cheese (the stuff that comes in a bag, not a can, or you can buy a block and grate it yourself)
  • some broccoli (I’m going to leave this up to you — how much do you like broccoli? He calls for a head. I probably used 2/3 of a head, and I like broccoli)

Salt your water and put it on to boil, then cut up your broccoli, keeping stalk and florets separate. Wash and peel the potato, discarding the skin, then shave it with your potato peeler until you have a pile of nearly see-through potato shavings. When the water is boiling, put your noodles and broccoli stalks in and cook to package specifications (personally, I never cook my pasta to specs because that makes it over-cooked for me, so I compensated).

While this is cooking, chop your basil up (yummy smell!), discarding any stalks that might have been in the package. Two minutes before the pasta should be done, add the florets and potato. After 2 minutes, drain everything in the colander, but reserve a little cooking water just in case your sauce is too thick. Pour the pasta, broccoli and potato back into the pan and add the basil and pesto and half of the Parmesan cheese. At this point, if it’s too thick, add a splash of cooking water.

Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan over the pasta once it’s been served up into separate bowls.

This may sound like it would take a long time, but it really doesn’t. It’s really very easy — most of it is just cutting stuff up.