Thursday, January 5, 2012
Gnocchi with a Different Kind of Pesto
One of the most versatile sauces you can make in my opinion is pesto. It's a common misconception that pesto can only be made with basil and garlic, but that's untrue, as you can construct a delicious pesto out of virtually any green veggie including spinach, arugula, parsley and even broccoli.
I recently experimented with the latter, seeing a really easy and vibrant recipe in Martha Stewart's Everyday Foods magazine for a Pasta and White Beans with Broccoli Pesto. And because I had some gnocchi to substitute in instead, I changed up the recipe slightly, which wasn't a biggie, as you can also put this sauce on meat, pizza...anything.
The pesto itself was simple to make, the broccoli cooking for a short time - basically just long enough to soften it up so it can be mashed into this delicious earthy sauce. And that's what I love about this dish - it's very very filling, fresh tasting and also mixes in some protein from the white, buttery cannellini beans. I hope you try it sometime soon, as it's especially wonderful in the cold winter months.
Gnocchi or Pasta and White Beans with Broccoli Pesto
Ingredients (serves 4)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 bunch broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
10 oz short pasta, such as fusilli (or gnocchi if you have it)
5 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 oz Parmesan (or Romano cheese), finely grated (1/4 cup), plus more for serving (optional)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/2 small garlic clove
1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook broccoli until tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a food processor. Return water to a boil and cook pasta (or gnocchi) according to package instructions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water; drain pasta (or gnocchi) and return to pot.
To food processor, add oil, Parmesan (or Romano cheese), lemon zest and juice, parsley and garlic. Puree until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down side as needed. Transfer pesto to a pot with pasta. Stir to coat, adding enough reserved pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Stir in beans and heat over medium until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.