Roasted broccoli is a wonder. A hot oven can transform the mild vegetable into something rich and caramelized, and the depth of flavor it's capable of never ceases to amaze me. And tossing with hot pasta is about the best way I know to transform that magic into a full meal. This recipe, from Diane Rossen Worthington's Seriously Simple Parties, takes things a step further by tossing the whole thing with a pistachio gremolata.
Why I Picked This Recipe: I've had plenty of pasta recipes with roasted or sauteed broccoli, but none with a pistachio gremolata. It turns out to be something of a rustic pesto, with the nuts chopped rather than blended, but providing the same herby, nutty flavor.
What Worked: Roasting the broccoli rather than sauteeing it provides even caramelization. And the pistachio mixture is truly wonderful—nutty, herbaceous, and lemony.
What Didn't: No complaints here. It's a strong, simple pasta recipe with a nice unexpected twist.
Suggested Tweaks: Any short pasta would work here, and certainly a little Parmesan cheese would also be welcome.
Adapted from Seriously Simple Parties.
- 1/4 cup shelled raw pistachios
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, stems removed (about 1 pound 2-inch florets)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 pound penne
Preheat an oven to 425°F. Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and just turning brown. Cool, roughly chop, and transfer to a small bowl. Combine with the lemon zest, garlic, and parsley.
Meanwhile, toss the broccoli with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper and spread out on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until lightly brown and beginning to crisp. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lemon juice while still very hot.
While the broccoli is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
Return the pasta to the pot and add the broccoli, most of the pistachio gremolata, and the remaining olive oil. Toss well to combine, adding pasta water as needed to create a viscous sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and divide among bowls. Top with any remaining gremolata.