Broccoli pesto farfalle (bow-tie pasta)

Farfalle with broccoli pesto, anchovies, and walnuts

Pounded and blended herbs, sharp hard cheese, garlic, and olive oil – a tapestry of flavors and a foundation for a fountain of imagination, if you are liberal enough to break away from Italian culinary tradition. Pesto. Part sauce, part spread, part “I can put this on anything and it’d be rocking”, it is the tasty elixir shared to the world by those in Genoa, Italy. Traditionally, pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic and olive oil, manually pulverized into a green pulp, by hand, by means of a mortar and pestle.

This is a slight variation that added blanched broccoli to the pesto. The firm and vegetable flavors of the broccoli, and bright green color, is a wonderful addition to the pesto party. To take it to another level, I serve the broccoli pesto with farfalle, aka bow-tie pasta. This is the ultimate pasta to pair with pesto as they work so well together. The addition of anchovies, toasted walnuts, spice, and butter, make this broccoli pesto farfalle more Southern-Italian. Nothing better than melted anchovies with a smashing pesto remix.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

For the broccoli pesto

  • 3 cups cooked broccoli (blanched in salted water and placed into an ice bath)
  • 1 cup basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted over low heat in sautee pan)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan and/or pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, Pepper

For the pasta

  • 1 lb farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
  • 6 anchovy filets
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (toasted over low heat in sautee pan)
  • 1 tablespoon
  • Olive oil
  • Butter

Prepare the broccoli pesto by combining all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil, into the blender. Turn the blender on and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Adjust the seasoning and consistency to your liking. For this pasta, a slightly thicker pesto works better, because it is later thinned out with melted anchovies and butter.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season it aggressively with salt and pour in the pasta. The dried farfalle will take approximately 10 minutes to cook.

While the pasta cook, place a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons butter, red pepper flakes, and the anchovy filets. Continue to stir the olive oil and butter until the anchovies dissolve. Once fully dissolved, add the broccoli pesto.

Once the farfalle is cooked to al-dente, add the pasta directly from the pot to the sautee pan, including some of the starchy pasta water. Toss the bow-tie pasta generously into the anchovy broccoli pesto sauce. Add the toasted walnuts on top. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, and add more olive oil and butter, if necessary.

Toasted walnuts


Melting anchovies in olive oil and butter


Melting anchovies with red pepper flakes


Broccoli pesto


Adding farfalle to broccoli pesto


Walnuts on top of broccoli pesto


More walnuts on top of broccoli pesto


Broccoli pesto farfalle


Broccoli pesto farfalle with anchovies

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