This Broccoli Pesto Pasta is a new favorite and it’s got one special, secret ingredient that gives it a super tangy flavor! Bet you’d never guess!
Easy, tangy Broccoli Pesto Pasta
I’m always up for a little trickery in the kitchen. Over the years, I’ve often gotten my boys, Tom included, to eat things I knew they’d never even try, unless I fudged the truth a bit. #SorryNotSorry
Like the time I made my Buffalo Cauliflower Soup. I knew Mr. Picky would never even get the soup spoon near his mouth if I mentioned the word cauliflower. So when he came into the kitchen and said, wow, that soup smells good, I just called it Buffalo Soup.
He took a spoonful and loved it. After a bowl, I confessed the base was roasted cauliflower and he couldn’t believe it, so as you can see, my little fib paid off. He gave it a try.
When it comes to getting our kids (and Mr. Picky) to eat healthy or try things they think they may not like, we sometimes need to disguise the good stuff.
This recipe for Broccoli Pesto Pasta proves my point. It’s from Kelly Senyei’s new cookbook, The Secret Ingredient Cookbook and it’s absolutely delicious.
I was intrigued by the secret ingredient in this one…green olives!
I would have never thought to add green olives to my pesto. I’ve tried it with walnuts, or pistachios or arugula, but never with olives.
Broccoli Pesto Pasta Ingredients
• broccoli florets
• pine nuts
• pitted green olives
• fresh basil leaves
• Parmesan cheese
• kosher salt and pepper
• extra-virgin olive oil
I’m a huge olive fan, but Tom, not so much. But I really wanted to try this recipe and didn’t want to make something different for him.
Kelly created an easy pesto sauce that’s a tasty combination of broccoli, green olives and basil and it’s definitely a dish I’ll be making on repeat so we can get our healthy greens in, because YES, even Tom loved it.
The briny, salty taste of the olives season this pesto perfectly. And the fresh basil hides any trace of the added broccoli. So we get all our greens in one dish that everyone enjoys!
And what’s even better is that you can serve this dish chilled, at room temperature or warm, so it’s perfect for lunch, dinner, meal prep or snacking. That’s called winning all the way around! Enjoy!
A Few Cook’s Notes for Broccoli Pesto Pasta
I used shellbows from Delallo for this dish. You can also use penne or rigatoni or your favorite kind of pasta shape.
Use as much of the pesto on your pasta as you enjoy and just refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.
As per Kelly’s recommendation, you can also freeze any leftover pesto in ice cube trays covered in plastic wrap. When you’re in the mood for pesto again, just take the tray out of the freezer, pop out a cube or two and defrost in the microwave or on the stovetop with your pasta.
More Delicious Pasta Recipes to Enjoy
- 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 lb. uncooked pasta, rigatoni or penne
- 3 Tbsp. pine nuts
- 1 cup green olives, pitted
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt, for seasoning
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for one minute. Transfer the broccoli to a food processor or blender with a slotted spoon.
- Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta, cooking until al dente according to package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving one cup of the pasta water in a measuring cup.
- In a small saucepan, cook the pine nuts over medium heat until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add the pine nuts to the food processor or blender along with the olives, basil, garlic, cheese, pepper and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Pulse until well combined.
- With the processor on, add the olive oil slowly, stopping to scrape the sides as needed, until the pesto is pureed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, toss the pasta with a desired amount of the pesto, thinning with extra pasta water two tablespoons at a time as needed. Serve.
Recipe adapted from The Secret Ingredient Cookbook by Kelly Senyei