Basil is the soundtrack of summer, the fragrant, slightly spicy herb that grows fast and makes everything taste better. From pastas to panini, fresh basil is a sure hit. I know it must be, as my most watched video and post is about the Best Way To Freeze Basil, with over 5k views! I love to use my abundant basil to make a simple pesto and toss it with roasted vegetables, for a veggie-rich side. Why save pesto for pasta-when you can use it to make a gorgeous pile of broccolini even more savory and sexy?
First, Roasted Broccolini
I have grown to love roasted vegetables, almost always preferring them to steamed or blanched. Most vegetables take on so much flavor and character in the oven, that it’s worth turning it on, even in the summer. To roast broccolini, Just preheat the oven to 400 F and get a large sheet pan.
Place the broccolini on your cutting board and trim about 2 inches from the tough bases of the stems. Discard. Cut the florets into 3 inch lengths, then slice the remaining stems into 2 inch segments. Place the broccolini on the sheet pan and drizzle with about a tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss to coat, then sprinkle with salt and toss again.
Roast for 20 minutes or so, until the flower tips are browned. Let cool.
Make Pesto in a Food Processor
If you’ve watched many of my YouTube videos, you’ve probably seen my Cuisinart in action. Life is easier when you have a powerful processor to make your herbs into a smooth paste.
Food processors are really good at making a thick paste out of foods. Always start with the basil, garlic and nuts, and process to mince before adding any oil. Adding oil too soon just makes the solid ingredients fly around in the processor bowl, and makes it harder for you.
What You Need to Make Roasted Broccolini with Pesto
I started with two fat bunches of broccolini, with nice, long stems. Broccolini is sometimes marketed as baby broccoli, but it’s really a cross between broccoli and Gai Lan, a Chinese green that you’ve probably had at a Chinese restaurant. The flavor of broccolini is a little sweeter and milder than the usual broccoli, and the shape of the stems and florets makes it a little easier to prep for cooking.
You’ll toss the broccolini with some extra virgin olive oil, and you’ll need more for the pesto.
Fresh basil is essential for the pesto. If you want to sub in half parsley, you can.
In this pesto, shelled pistachios give it a creamy, almost cheesy quality. I used raw pistachios for a bright green color.
Fresh garlic cloves and a fat, ripe tomato are all you need from there.
Broccolini in Pesto
- 2 bunches broccolini
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 cups fresh basil washed and spun dry
- 3 cloves garlic pressed
- 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios
- 1 large tomato chopped and squeezed
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Trim the tough bases from the broccolini, then cut the broccolini florets into 4 inch long pieces, then slice the stems, making 2 inch pieces. Place on a sheet pan and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss to coat, then roast for about 20, until the broccoli flowers are lightly browned.
- In a food processor bowl, combine the basil, garlic, pistachios and salt. Process until finely ground, scraping down as needed. When almost smooth, drizzle in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the machine running. Scrape out into a bowl.
- Toss the broccolini with the pesto and serve hot or cold.