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Broccoli, leek and parmesan pasta

June 10, 2011

Broccoli. Leek. Humble and homely. You know what elevates humble and homely? Parmesan, of course.

Bzzz. Mix into pasta. Dinner is done. Ok, so it doesn’t look very appetizing, but if you’re a broccoli fan the smell of the broccoli steaming will make looks irrelevant!

Keep the broccoli perfectly cooked, and you’ll have a subtly rich pasta coated in a chunky sauce with the nuttiness of broccoli and the salty tang of the king of cheeses. Cook that broccoli to death, and you’ll have a silkier sauce. Either way, both your tastebuds and your body will love you. Unless you hate broccoli. In that case you might want to use a different vegetable. EDIT: I tried this peas and broccoli, minus the leeks and with a little garlic instead. Also yum – use any other greens you have. Also, topping with poached/soft boiled eggs and truffle salt? YES. Totally yes. Maybe a little more yes.

Broccoli and parmesan pasta

serves two

adapted from The New Zealand Vegetable Cookbook

  • cooked pasta for two
  • one head of broccoli (medium-large)
  • half a large leek (I used the white part but the green part is ok too)
  • about half a cup of finely grated parmigiano, or a parmesan you like
  • half a lemon, juice and zest
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, cooking oil for cooking
  • optional: butter, for extra richness, or crumbled creamy feta for sprinkling on top. Or toasted pine nuts.
Once your pasta is on the boil, heat a large frypan on medium, add leek and broccoli with a fairly generous drizzle of oil and a wee bit of butter. Cover and cook a few minutes until there’s a fair amount of steaming going on and stir. The leeks should be golden on the undersides. If not turn up heat. Cook until a metal spatula can cut the broccoli with ease. Puree the mixture in a food processor with a few ladles of pasta cooking water, lemon bits, and most of the parmesan. Pulse to combine. Taste, season further with salt if needed, pulse, and taste again. Drain pasta, and stir through the sauce. Serve dolloped with crumbled feta or toasted pine nuts, or just plain (I thought it was fine plain, but I realise there’s not a whole lotta protein in this meal).

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2011 8:37 pm

    :-) my kind of meal! I am curious about adding lemon to it, must try and see, I make lots of pasta with broccoli and it is nice to try different way. And then I always have lemons kicking around.


  2. June 10, 2011 10:00 pm

    I’ve made broccoli ‘sauce’ with pasta a few times now, but have never been tempted to blog about it. Mainly because although it always taste sooo good, it never looks good. However yours looks much nicer than the ones I make! So fresh and green…

  3. June 11, 2011 1:15 pm

    Ale: I always thought lemon and broccoli was a bit weird but it doesn’t go so far as to make this sour, just adds a nice refreshing note. Lemons have also become a necessity in my kitchen, a bit like salt!

    All: Haha, to be honest it could probably look much greener. I didn’t cook it too long and I think that always helps. Could have been greener if I’d used the green part of the leek and saved the broccoli stalk for a stir fry, or whizzed a bit of spinach in there, but oh well.

  4. June 12, 2011 7:38 pm

    Sounds like the perfect winter pasta with lashings of parmesan, yum.

  5. June 13, 2011 10:17 am

    A: Yes, I’m already thinking of twists on this, like pumpkin instead of broccoli and with brown butter crispy sage leaves on top. Mm.

  6. June 16, 2011 7:48 am

    Delicious – brocolli’s nutty flavour just isn’t played up enough when it’s boiled and plonked on the side of your plate.

  7. June 18, 2011 11:48 am

    Simply wonderful. I can almost smell it. The cheese and the veggie.

  8. June 18, 2011 12:13 pm

    H: I know! No wonder so many people dislike it.

    R: Even before adding the cheese I was all swoony from the smell of the broccoli steaming.


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