Broccoli or turnip greens pesto is an excellent and tasty condiment for the pasta to be enjoyed also as an appetizer on croutons and which can be stored in jars or frozen.
Broccoli or turnip tops pesto is a typical Apulian recipe and is almost always served paired with the classic homemade orecchiette but it is also excellent with other types of homemade pasta such as gnocchi, trofie, fusilli, or with pasta as long as vermicelli or bucatini.
In Puglia, broccoli pesto is also served as a delicious appetizer simply spread on croutons and even better on freselle. Let’s see how to prepare this velvety broccoli pesto in our step-by-step recipe.
First, fill a saucepan with water, add enough salt and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, trim the fresh, firm broccoli or turnip greens. Eliminate the hardest leaves, those yellowed and those with holes, and trim the inflorescence up to the most tender part of the stem. Put the broccoli in cold water and rinse them thoroughly several times to be sure you have cleaned them well. Drain the broccoli, put it in the boiling water, and boil it for about 20 minutes.
After the indicated time has elapsed, drain them with a slotted spoon and immerse them for a few minutes in ice water to fix the color and let them cool. When the broccoli (or turnip greens) are very cold, drain them again, squeeze them in your hands and then chop them coarsely. In another pan, bring the water to a boil for cooking the pasta. Meanwhile, pour the turnip greens or broccoli into the blender jug. Add the toasted almonds without skin, some pine nuts, 1 or 2 anchovy fillets in oil (optional) and blend until you get a creamy mixture.
Add the grated pecorino or parmesan, and salt to taste. Operate the blender blades once more and add the extra virgin olive oil until you get a uniform and homogeneous cream. At this point, transfer the pesto into a bowl and add the remaining whole pine nuts. The pesto is ready to season pasta like orecchiette or another format. Take a pan with a non-stick bottom, pour in a little oil, and heat it on the gas stove over low heat, then quickly toast 4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs. When the pasta will be cooked al dente, drain, pour into a tureen, add the pesto and mix everything to mix the ingredients. Finally decorate with toasted bread and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.
If you don’t have almonds, you can also use walnut kernels. If you like a slightly spicy sauce, blend the pesto with a pinch of dried chili. The leftover fresh broccoli pesto should be kept in the fridge and consumed within 5 days of preparation.
If, on the other hand, you want to preserve it like basil pesto, put it in airtight jars and let them sterilize in boiling water for at least 20 minutes. Let the jars cool in the water and when they are completely cold, dry them, and attach the label bearing the name of the preserves and the date of packaging. If you intend to keep the broccoli pesto and be able to use it in lean times when preparing it avoids adding the cheese. You will put it at the moment, fresh.