Broccoli Pesto with Penne

 In Recipes

Broccoli Pesto with Penne

By Frances Kellar, Cooking with Our CSA

Rich in vitamin C, K, iron and potassium, this cruciferous veggie is fiber rich making this pesto especially nutrient dense, but oh so creamy and delicious. This is a pasta dinner that comes together quickly in 20 minutes. Perfect for a speedy weeknight meal. Save the extra pesto for so many other meals like pizza or a grilled flatbread, top on some slow roasted salmon or maybe even in a baked potato. Oh, yes. 

Serves 6 to 8

Approximate Time: 20 minutes


4 cups broccoli florets, stems and all

1/4 cup grated Pecorino

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup breadcrumbs (Italian seasoned or Panko both work well here)

1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 to 2 cups pasta water**

1 lb package of penne pasta

** Note: you can also use the broccoli broth water in lieu of pasta water if you’re making the pesto alone and not immediately using with pasta 


In a large sauce pan, bring water to boil and add a few generous pinches of kosher salt. Bring a second large pot of water to boil for your pasta. When the second pot of water is boiling add in your pasta to cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes depending on your package.

Add in your broccoli florets to the large sauce pan and boil about 5-6 minutes until florets are gently fork tender but still vibrant green. Drain broccoli and place florets in blender. Add in your garlic cloves, bread crumbs, cheese, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.  Begin blending. If sauce is too thick, start with adding one cup of pasta water to blender. You may add up to about 2 cups of pasta water to thin out the sauce so it’s blends until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Your pesto should be creamy and thick. It will thin out more when you add the pasta.

The broccoli pesto will make about 3 cups. Take one cup of pesto and spoon into a large bowl. Add in your pasta and toss together until the pesto is combined with the pasta. Ladle pasta into bowls and top with more pecorino-Parmesan and red pepper flakes. Enjoy immediately.

Store unused pesto in a sealed container for 3-5 days. Use it in stuffed peppers or chicken or as a spread for toast or maybe even pizza.

About Your Recipe Blogger

Frances is a food blogger and recipe developer focused on crafting nourishing meals that use up all the ingredients in her weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share box. She writes a weekly Sunday blog post called “Dinner Plans” highlighting easy and delicious meal ideas based on the ingredients of the week’s CSA box. Having grown up in Southern California, Frances first began shopping the local Fresno Farmer’s Markets when she lived in the Central Valley with her family in 2013 and quickly became an advocate for supporting small and local farms as she saw the explicit connection of farm-to-table dining. She has been a proud member of Sage Mountain Farm’s CSA since April 2020 with approximately 90% of the produce Frances uses to cook meals at home coming directly from her CSA box. You can find her on Instagram (@FrancesKellar) and on her website: Cooking with Our CSA. She lives in Pomona, CA with her husband, the owner and craftsman behind Pino Grande Woodworking, and their two adorable and very active children.


Recent Posts