Broccoli pesto relies on classic staples like pine nuts, basil, garlic, and parmesan blended with frozen broccoli for a bright and hearty sauce that can be enjoyed any time of year. It's a low key way to add one more healthy dose of vegetables to your meal without (too much) extra work. Toss it with a short, ridged pasta that will grab onto the sauce.
Heat a large pot of water until boiling, then season with kosher salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
Place frozen broccoli into a fine mesh strainer and defrost until cool running water until soft. Shake to release moisture.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat; add the pine nuts. Stir the nuts continuously for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and very fragrant.
Combine the defrosted broccoli, pine nuts, basil, parmesan cheese, and garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are pulverized (20-30 pulses), scraping the sides down once halfway through.
Flip the motor to continuous and pour the olive oil through the feed tube; continue blending until the pesto comes together, scraping the sides down once. Use more oil for a thinner sauce, up to ⅔ cup. Season with salt and pepper, process once more, then taste for seasoning. Adjust with salt and pepper as needed until the flavor sings.
Add the pesto to the cooked pasta, along with ½ c of pasta water. Toss until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce. Serve immediately.
Any short, ridged pasta shape will work for this recipe, and whole wheat is a particularly great pairing with nutty pesto sauce.
Grate the parmesan with a microplane for easy blending into the pesto sauce.
How to store leftovers: store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave, adding 1 tablespoon of water per serving to help loosen the sauce.
How to freeze the pesto: store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge; toss with hot cooked pasta, and be sure to reserve and add pasta water.