The last few days, I’ve been able to sleep with the windows open and been woken by birds singing.
It’s finally spring!
Which has me replacing hearty soups with the bright flavors of lemon and herbs. While it’s not time for much local produce or the farmer’s market yet, I can feel it coming. This pasta dish is a great way to usher it in.
I love pesto, but a standard basil and pine nut combo can get a bit repetitive. I like to experiment with different herb and nut combos to spice things up.
The original recipe I found called for a ton (okay, a cup and a half) of olive oil, but I lightened it up. The mint and lemon make a bright and fresh combo, and the pistachio is the perfect bit of crunch. I’s all rounded out with a sprinkling of tangy parmesan and a bit of crushed red pepper adds some heat.
This pasta is quick, easy, and tasty.
Pasta with Lemon-Pistachio Pesto and Broccoli
- 1 C roasted and shelled pistachios
- 1 T kosher salt plus extra for pasta water
- 16 oz pasta (penne or bowtie are my preference)
- 1 large head broccoli, stems trimmed
- 4 cloves garlic
- Juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon (or zest of 1 regular lemon with 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon orange juice)
- 1 t red pepper flakes
- 1 C flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ½ C mint or basil leaves
- 1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ C finely grated parmesan or romano cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the pasta. Cook until almost al dente, about 8 minutes.Add the broccoli to the pot and cook for 2 minutes more or until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta and broccoli.
In a food processor, combine the olive oil, pistachio, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and kosher salt and grind into a fine paste. Add the parsley and mint and pulse to make a rough paste.
In a large bowl, combine the pasta, broccoli and pesto. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside for 5 minutes. To serve, divide the pasta among plates or bowls and garnish with the grated cheese.