Creamy Broccoli Pesto

Circle B Kitchen

In addition to using this as a sauce for pasta, it's ever so lovely as a sauce over chicken or fish. We’re not partial to the strong taste of raw garlic in many pesto sauces, so my trick is to microwave the garlic (still in the skin) for about 10 seconds or so, depending on how powerful your microwave is. This softens and partially cooks the garlic, reducing the bitterness. If you don't have fresh basil handy, you may substitute fresh spinach or parsley, although the basil adds a really bright flavor to the sauce.

Serves 4-6

1/2 pound broccoli florets

1 or 2 cloves garlic

1 cup basil leaves, tightly packed (see headnote)

¼ cup soft goat cheese

¼ cup toasted pine nuts, plus more for serving

¼ cup Greek yogurt

juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2-3 tablespoons)

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese or pecorino cheese (I used a combination of the two)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Steam the broccoli for 6 minutes, until very tender but still bright. Remove from the heat, rinse and drain on paper towels.

2. Place all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor. Blend until it is smooth. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil until you have a smooth paste. Taste for salt and pepper.

If using as a sauce for pasta...

3. Place 1 lb of pasta (any shape you like) in a large pan of boiling, well-salted water and cook until al dente (usually a minute or so under what the package recommends). Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

4. Place the pasta back into the warm pan and stir in enough of the sauce to coat the pasta (you may have some sauce leftover), adding the reserved pasta water if needed to thin the sauce. Mix in a little more grated parmesan and then turn the pasta out into a large serving bowl. Top the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil, a little more grated cheese and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.

Yield: 1 ¼ cups sauce