Since I live very close to a farmer's market, a local food market, and a massive supermarket, I usually don't have to bring a wheel barrow when I do my food shopping. Instead of doing my shopping for a few weeks, I find it easier to go once or twice a week. This method allows great freedom in what I cook because I don't have to plan far ahead. Besides, the odds that I will want to eat a meal I plan on making two weeks down the road are pretty slim. I'm more of a "that-should-taste-good-I-think-I'll-make-that-tonight" kinda guy. So I can make a quick run to the store or farmer's market and grab what I need.
But sometimes you just don't feel like running around to two different food stores. Sometimes you just want to make something and eat it for a week (lasagna: I''m looking in your direction). When this urge arises, I tend to make something that I can use for a variety of meals and that is simple to make.
Enter broccoli pesto. This delicious sauce is not only really good for you, but also works to keep you satisfied every night of the week. Tonight, I topped some cannellini beans with a bit of crushed red pepper and smothered it in this broccoli pesto, an extra splash of olive oil, and a touch of parsley. This pesto would also work great on pasta, roasted vegetables, a nice piece of fish, white pizza, etc. With so many choices, you'll be happily reaching for this pesto for days!
3 small heads of broccoli, seperated into florets
3 cloves garlic
8 whole hazelnuts
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 oz. parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 cups water
juice of one lemon
parsley, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil with a healthy pinch of salt. Add broccoli florets and cook until just done. This should only take a few minutes. Meanwhile, in a food processor: add hazelnuts, garlic, parmigiano reggiano, and half of the olive oil. Process to a smooth paste and scrape into a large bowl.
When the broccoli is done, drain in a colander. Make sure to reserve a cup of the water. Process the broccoli in the food processor, in batches if you need to. Add some of the olive oil in each batch. Combine broccoli with the garlic, hazelnut, and cheese puree. Stir to combine. Add juice of the lemon. At this time, you may add up to a cup of the water the broccoli was cooked in to thin out the pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I served this with some cannellini beans that I briefly cooked in olive oil with a little crushed red pepper. Such a good combination. I also will add, that I have Karen at Off the Meat Hook to thank for this. It was something I was thinking about making, and stumbling across her version of the pesto helped me bring mine into to focus.