I’m sorry to do this to you pesto. You are not only the pride and joy of Genoa, but you are the one of the world’s favorite sauces/pastes. Your versatility is legion and can make mustard jealous in some circles. You are many great things, but one such thing you are not is a super health food.
That is until now that is, and after some bastardization. I’m fascinated with pureeing different items to create different types of pesto beyond the originally famous basil variety. One variation I greatly enjoy, and is packed full of nutrients and benefits, is with broccoli. For this recipe, I recommend sautéing the broccoli with garlic before having it enter its vessel of sharp shredded death. This imparts an extra layer of broccoli flavor, which makes for a tantalizing pesto to gorgeously lather onto bread as crostini. An easy appetizer or starter for when you have company, or bootcamp pre-game.
Broccoli pesto crostini
Ingredients (serves six):
- 3-4 cups broccoli
- 1 cup basil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated cheese mix (parmesan and pecorino)
- Plenty of olive oil
- Loaf of Italian or French bread
In a large saute pan over high heat, add the broccoli, garlic, and some olive oil. Sear the broccoli for 5 minutes. Have it cook through and develop some char (flavor crystals).
In a separate saute pan, saute the pine nuts over medium-low heat. Jiggle the pan every 30 seconds or so. Saute them until slightly colored, approximately 5 minutes. Burnt pine nuts taste funky, so watch out.
Place the sautéed broccoli & garlic, toasted pine nuts, basil and cheese into a blender. Pour in a touch of olive oil and crank on the blender. Gently drizzle in olive oil until the pesto is fully blended. We want the texture to be both substantive and a bit runny, like a velvety puree of a paste with some thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Rebalance the other ingredients to achieve a pesto in which the broccoli shines, yet the other ingredients do remain as noticeable role players.
Spread the broccoli pesto onto the bread, which can be toasted. You’re now all set! Eat and enjoy