Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is treating everyone well so far. As for me, I have a couple of new things to tell you about! First of all, Put On Your Cake Pants is now on Instagram, so be sure to come visit me over there! I anticipate there will be lots of food and Phoebe pictures.
Second, I’ve created a new and improved recipe index. The recipes are now indexed not only by category (breakfast, entrées, dessert, etc.) as they were before, but also by type and/or cuisine: pancakes, muffins, pastas, salads, cookies, cakes, Mexican, Asian…you get the idea. My hope is that this index will be much more user-friendly and will help you find the sorts of things you may be browsing for – but of course, you can always use the search bar for that as well.
Now, on to this broccoli pistachio pesto! I made this for my family over the holidays, after seeing a similar recipe on BuzzFeed a number of months ago. Broccoli pistachio pesto is a great alternative to traditional pesto (made with basil and pine nuts), especially for people who find the flavor of basil to be too overpowering. Since there are two cups of broccoli in the pesto itself and an additional two cups on top, you’ve got a balanced meal with carbs, veggies, and protein all in one bowl – no need for side dishes or anything! Just zing up some broccoli, pistachios, parmesan, lemon, and olive oil in a blender, and you’ve got a batch of delightfully fresh, vibrant, and crowd-pleasing pesto!
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 pound rotini pasta
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup shelled pistachios, divided
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 1 medium lemon)
- 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 12 ounces chicken tenders
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- Remove and discard the tough outer skin from the broccoli florets.
- Bring about 3 inches of water in a medium saucepan to a boil. Once the water boils, place the broccoli florets in the water and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Drain the broccoli and rinse with cold water.
- Bring a large saucepan of water (+ 1 teaspoon salt) to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the saucepan.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine the pesto ingredients in the blender: 1/2 of the cooked broccoli (you may want to run this through a salad spinner first to remove some of the excess water), 1/2 cup pistachios, parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Once the pasta is finished, add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the blender. Blend until smooth, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Also while the pasta is cooking, place 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet and heat on medium for 1-2 minutes. Place the chicken tenders in the skillet and cook until slightly browned and no pink remains, about 12 minutes (if the tenders are frozen. The cook time will be shorter if you are using refrigerated chicken). Once cooked, chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Roughly chop the remaining half of the cooked broccoli. Place the broccoli, chicken, and pesto in the large saucepan along with the pasta and toss to combine. If the pesto seems too pasty/thick on the pasta, gradually stir in more pasta water. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the remaining 1/4 cup pistachios, and red pepper flakes.