This easy broccoli + almond pesto from Chef Anne Burrell is naturally gluten-free and can be made dairy-free (just skip the cheese). It's equally delicious tossed with regular pasta or the gluten-free kind for a completely gluten-free meal.
"I like this recipe because I can make it for three different diets," Anne says. "[It also uses] stuff that I [can] easily get at my local small town grocery store. It's delicious, easy and does have one foot in the classic Italian kitchen. It's so yummy that I think I'm gonna keep it as part of my regular repertoire!"
- ¾ cup blanched almonds
- Kosher salt
- 3 heads broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 ½ pounds pasta (24 ounces)
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup olive oil, plus a little more for finishing
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus a little more for finishing
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place almonds on a baking sheet and roast until almonds are light brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set up a salted ice bath. Add broccoli to the boiling water and let water return to a rolling boil. Scoop broccoli out of the boiling water, reserving the boiling cooking water, and plunge immediately into the ice bath. Once broccoli is cold, remove from the ice bath.
Add pasta to the reserved boiling water and cook until it is almost al dente, usually 1 minute less than cooking time on the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, in the bowl of a food processor, combine almonds, garlic, a pinch of salt and the olive oil and pulse until a coarse paste forms. Add the parmigiano-reggiano and two-thirds of the broccoli and purée until smooth. Taste the pesto and adjust the seasoning.
When the pasta is almost al dente, remove ½ cup pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and return to the pan along with the pesto, remaining broccoli florets and the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss to combine and cook until the pesto clings to the pasta, about 1 minute more. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with more parmigiano-reggiano and drizzle with olive oil. Stir to combine and serve immediately.