Saturday, 6 October 2012

Broccoli pesto mash

I really like broccoli, it's probably one of the green vegetables that I eat most regularly. The tenderstem stuff is ideal as a simple side dish with butter and salt and pepper, and the big green fists of florets are perfect for everything from stir fries to pakoras. So when I was looking for something green to make a pesto with I thought I'd try some cooked broccoli. And it was really good! You can add this 'pesto' to pasta, or if you keep it thick just have it as a mash. I've had it with some pan-fried salmon instead of mashed potatoes, but it would probably go with most things (apart from pudding). I've included a basic recipe below, but do alter the amounts of things based on taste.

Recipe (enough for two):
Around 250g of broccoli florets
1 medium clove garlic
1 big handful pine nuts (lightly toasted if preferred)
Around 50g hard Italian cheese such as parmesan, grana padano, percorino or a properly veggie substitute
Around 1-2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the broccoli in boiling water for around 8-10 minutes. You want it to be fully cooked through, and probably a bit softer than if you were just eating it on its own (but not boiled to a deathly grey). Drain, and put it and all the other ingredients apart from the oil into a food processor, and whizz together. I have a small Kenwood mini-chopper and make this pesto in two batches, mixing it all together afterwards. Once the pesto ingredients are all combined, but not totally pulverised, add some oil. If you want a loose pesto to go on pasta be generous with the olive oil, but for the mash just use a tablespoon or so to bring it all together. Add some salt and pepper and you're good to go. This process is a bit more complicated without mechanical assistance, but you could probably still crush the garlic, nuts and cheese in a pestle and mortar, mash the broccoli separately and then combine the two together.

I've made this, and allowed it to cool, before it mixing it with hot pasta for dinner. And had it hot straight after being blitzed too. Broccoli is indeed the king of versatility.

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