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Broccoli Pesto

Traditional pesto is a thick, green sauce that tastes bright and herby from the basil, and salty and rich from the cheeses and nuts. It should be garlicky, and a little pungent from good quality olive oil. Now bring in the guest star, broccoli, and it adds a little earthy bitterness AND contains many vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

You will need:

4 cups broccoli florets

1/2 cup pecans

1 cup parsley

1 cup basil

2 peeled and crushed garlic cloves

Pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water, and cook until they’re just tender, about 4 minutes. Remove them to the bowl of ice water to cool. Drain them, and pat them dry.

Put the broccoli in a food processor with the pecans, parsley, basil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and a big pinch of peperoncino. Pulse to make a chunky paste. With the processor running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, to make a smooth and bright-green pesto. Scrape it into a large serving bowl, and stir in the grated cheese.  I opted to top some grilled chicken with it, but of course it’s wonderful stirred into hot pasta!

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