A quick way to use a pound of broccoli that usually sails well with the non-veggie crowd, since the green is blended into a mixture of sweet almonds, smooth cream and salty Parmesan cheese, with a bit of a bite of black pepper.
I call it “green comfort food”. It’s quick, easy and affordable, and makes your lunch look halfway sophisticated even if you’ve spend the previous night working on a deadline until the early hours of the morning. Bonus point: You get to recharge your vitamin batteries a little in addition.
Pasta with Broccoli & Almond Sauce (makes 3-4 portions)
- pasta (I count 90g per person, adjust according to your amount of hunger). I prefer penne rigate for this dish – whole wheat works fine – but if you can’t find any, it also works very well with orecchiette, or with just plain spaghetti (see above, I couldn’t get my hands on anything else here)
- 1 head broccoli (500g)
- 150ml heavy cream or cooking cream
- 2-3tbsp. peeled, sliced almonds (the ones you can buy in small plastic bags in the baking section)
- 2-3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
- freshly ground fresh pepper, a generous amount
- Wash the broccoli, break it down into florets and place them inabout 100-150ml of water, depending on the width of your kitchenware. Don’t throw out the stem – cut off an inch at the bottom (it tastes wooden), then cut away the hard peel. Chop the smooth inter stem into 1-inch-thick pieces and add to the pot with the florets.
- Steam the broccoli, including the stem, about 15 minutes (8 minutes in a pressure cooker). Preserve the water you used for steaming afterwards. On the side, you can already cook and drain the pasta.
- In the same cooking pot, add the almonds, parmesan and cream to the steamed broccoli, add a few tbsp. of the preserved water you used for steaming and blend into a creamy sauce. Add more of the water if the texture is to dense (I usually end up using nearly all of the water). Season with salt to taste, and grind black pepper over it all. Stir, allow to simmer for a minute to blend flavors.
- And that’s it, ready to serve over hot pasta! (leftovers reheat well over a small flame)