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September 16, 2021

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta

This roasted broccoli pesto is an easy vegetarian sauce for pasta with pine nuts, lemon, Parmesan and garlic. Stir it into a bowl of penne pasta.

This roasted broccoli pesto is an easy vegetarian sauce for pasta with pine nuts, lemon, Parmesan and garlic. Stir it into a bowl of penne pasta.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta

If the adult version of me could go back and tell my 10-year-old-self that I would grow up to love broccoli, I never would have believed it.

But yes, broccoli is one of the many vegetables, like brussels sprouts, cauliflower and more, that I adore now. I think part of that is because how much cooking and food has evolved over the last so many years, not to date myself.

These once unappealing veggies have become exciting. I don’t want to call them trendy because they have always been here and been delicious when done right.

Now back to broccoli, and pesto and pasta! (And my enthusiasm for this simple vegetarian dinner.)

Roasting Broccoli For Pesto

In general when I roast broccoli, I prefer to keep things more al dente, similar to how I treat pasta. And that’s true even when I am turning that broccoli into sauce.

Good roasted broccoli is bright green and still maintains some of its snap and bite. That’s why its important to let a food processor do the work to chop and puree the florets along with the other ingredients.

You will find that this pesto is filling and chunkier than traditional basil pesto, but it still has everything we all love about this special sauce.

And even better that peak broccoli season is from fall through spring, so it’s around a lot longer and through the colder months unlike more delicate basil.

Broccoli Pasta Ingredients

The Ingredients

You will need these ingredients to make roasted broccoli pasta:

  • Broccoli: When you are choosing broccoli, the florets should be snuggly packed together. Avoid any crowns that show yellowing because they aren’t as fresh.
  • Penne: My first pick for pasta is penne with ridges, so the chunky pesto will really cling to the noodles.
  • Pine nuts: Make sure to toast the pine nuts before you add them to the pesto. You can do this in the oven on a sheet pan at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes. Just make sure to watch the nuts, so they don’t get too dark.
  • Garlic: You can’t have pesto without a little garlic!
  • Parmesan: Just like a classic pesto, this one has Parmesan cheese.
  • Lemon: The juice of a lemon adds brightness to the roasted broccoli.
  • Olive oil Definitely use extra virgin olive oil.
  • Salt & pepper: The broccoli should be seasoned when it’s roasted and then the pesto needs salt and pepper too.
Stirring pesto into pasta

How To Make Roasted Broccoli Pesto

  1. Roast the broccoli. Toss the florets on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. The broccoli is ready when it is tender and just starting to brown at the edges. Save a half-cup of broccoli to stir into the pasta.
  2. Make the pesto. Mince a garlic clove in a food processor. Then add the roasted broccoli, pine nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Chop the mixture and pour in the olive oil through the feeder tube with the motor running.
  3. Cook the pasta until al dente. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to a big bowl.
  4. Stir the sauce into the pasta with the reserved roasted broccoli.
  5. Top with grated Parmesan before serving.

How To Serve Roasted Broccoli Pasta

Ready in less than 30 minutes, I think of this broccoli pasta as a busy weeknight vegetarian dinner.

If you want dinner on the table even quicker, you can make the pesto no more than 3 days in advance. Just warm it over low heat in a large saucepan and stir in the cooked pasta.

Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Try These Other Roasted Broccoli Recipes

Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad
Mini Roasted Broccoli Onion Frittatas
Roasted Broccoli Orzo
Roasted Butternut Squash Broccoli Orzo
Sheet Pan Kung Pao Tofu

Print
Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Roasted Broccoli Pesto

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18-20 minutes
  • Total Time: 23-25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Italian

This roasted broccoli pesto is an easy vegetarian sauce for pasta with pine nuts, lemon, Parmesan and garlic. Stir it into a bowl of penne pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccoli, trimmed and cut into small florets
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus more for serving
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces penne pasta

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the broccoli with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and spread across a sheet pan. Roast the broccoli until it is tender and starting to brown at the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup broccoli for the pasta.
  3. For the pesto, mince the garlic in a bowl of a food processor. Add the roasted broccoli, pine nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and puree. With the motor running, pour in 1/2 cup olive oil through the feeder tube processing the mixture until it is fully combined.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Stir in the pesto and remaining broccoli florets. Top with grated Parmesan before serving.

Notes

You can make the pesto up to 3 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Warm it over low heat in a saucepan on the stove and stir in the pasta.

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18-20 minutes
  • Total Time: 23-25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: broccoli pesto, roasted broccoli pasta

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