This zesty lemony utterly delicious dish is one for the doubters, the ones who can’t imagine a cruciferous vegetable as the star of the meal. Believe me when I say you’ve never tasted broccoli quite like this!
A warm and creamy pasta salad usually made with risoni (the small rice-like pasta which cooks quickly), I make my version with slightly bigger pasta elbows (gluten-free Barilla brand). To make it more of a complete meal I add tasty Swiss brown mushrooms and panfry them in olive oil, with garlic and chopped chilli for extra flavour. I also substitute raw cashews for some of the pine nuts (to reduce on cost but not on taste).
It’s adapted from the utterly wonderful book The Vegetable by Caroline Griffiths and Vicky Valsamis–a firm favourite of mine that more than lives up to its subtitle of ‘ recipes that celebrate nature’. Serve with a simple mixed leaf salad with capers, onions and zingy vinaigrette (add avocado if you have them), and its a great midweek meal made in minutes.
Who knows! It’s probably a great way to get the kids to eat more greens (if you omit the florets of broccoli and just use the sauce, they will never know the broccoli is in there.) Let me know how you go!
Ingredients Image: Mae Mu on Unsplash
- 350g of broccoli cut into florets
- 330g of pasta (1.5 cups) -elbows, risoni, or your favourite shape
- 2-3 kale leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 65g (2/3 cup)of grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- 6oml (1/4 cup) lemon juice
- 60ml (1.4 cup olive oil
- 1 small chilli chopped
- 1/3 cup of yoghurt blended with tablespoon cream (or use 1/4 cup of sour cream)
- 50g (1/3 cup) pine nuts, toasted
- 50g (1/3 cup) raw cashews, toasted
- 1 tablespoon of preserved lemon rind or shreedded zest of one lemon.
- parsley to garnish
Pan-fried Mushroom Mix
- cup of swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
- extra garlic and chopped chilli
- olive oil
- sea salt
1. Blanch the broccoli for 2 minutes in a large pot of boiling water, remove with slotted spoon and rinse in cold water.
2. Cook pasta in the boiling water for required time. Rinse and set aside in pan with lid on to keep warm but not hot.
3. Place 1 heaped cup of the broccoli in a food processor. Add all the other ingredients leaving out half the pine nuts, the parsley and the preserved lemon for garnish. Pulse until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
4. Saute mushrooms in oil garlic and chilli in a heavy based fry pan till nicely browned. Turn off heat and toss in remaining broccoli florets.
5. Stir the sauce into the warm pasta (add a little water to lubricate if required) and add to the pan of mushrooms, tossing gently.
6. Divide into bowls and sprinkle with toasted pinenuts, preserved lemon, and a sprig of parsley. A crisp side salad is a nice accompaniment.
NOTE: Any leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge and used as a dip (it goes quite thick when cold) or warmed and poured over just about anything.