Magic Broccoli Pesto Pasta
This dish was born out of necessity, after returning home from work today there was little in the fridge. I was surprised how tasty and simple this was. A perfect weeknight dish. I’ve called this Magic Broccoli Pesto because it had those lovely garlicky lemon favours of pesto without any cheese or nuts, making it a healthy option.
- 1 bag of penne pasta
- 1 large bunch of tender stem broccoli
- 2 cups of frozen petit pois
- 4 garlic gloves
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
Chop the broccoli into approx 2 cm pieces, cook in boiling water for 8 minutes alongside the pasta. Drain the broccoli and with a hand blender or potato masher, very briefly whiz or mash the broccoli, not to make a paste or puree but just to break it down a bit to enable it to coat the pasta. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, yoghurt and butter, stir in the peas (from frozen?) Stir this for 2 minutes to bring the flavours together and heat the peas through. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon and season with salt.
Here I have served it with charred broccoli; rub some oil onto the broccoli and add to a hot dry frying pan. Leave to colour for 3 mins and turn, leave to colour on the other side for another 3 minutes and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
You could also serve it on its own or topped with:
- Roasted cherry tomatoes
- Crispy pancetta
- Salmon fillet
If you try it, let me know what you think or what you served it with if it was something different 😋
Salmon and Peas
I really enjoyed this dish, the flavour combination really worked; salmon, bacon, peas and dill. It was light and fresh with the pea puree but rich with the salmon and dill mayonnaise. The recipe below is designed for two people but if making for more increase as needed.
- Two salmon fillets
- 3 cups of peas
- 2 rashes of streaky bacon
- 2 tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- Knob of butter
- Sea Salt and pepper
This dish is quick so try to have everything ready and prepared before you start. Take the salmon fillets and place them on a piece of kitchen roll and pat dry, the idea here is to maximize the crisp factor on the skin. Wet skin won’t crisp.
Pans – you will need three really but you could do it in two if you do the salmon and bacon together.
Bowl – you will need one for making the dill mayonnaise
Get all three (or two) pans ready on the hob and put them on a medium heat. Add about 1 cup of water to one pan for the peas. Now that you have dried your salmon rub a little oil on all sides, sprinkle some sea salt on the skin side only. Turn the salmon pan heat up to medium heat and place in the pan skin side down. Leave the salmon to cook for 3-4 minutes, do not move it – the trick is to allow it time to form a crust and the skin begins to crisp.
Add your frozen peas to the water and leave to heat through for 3 minutes. Add the mayonnaise and chopped dill to the bowl, mix and add in a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of salt and taste, add more lemon if it needs it. You want this sauce to be rich and luxurious but sharp enough with lemon to balance the richness of the salmon.
Its bacon time, I choose to cook streaky bacon in a dry frying pan for about 2 mins on each side – maximum. Remember here that the bacon with carry on cooking and crisping up after you take it out of the pan due to the fat content.
Turn the salmon carefully and turn the heat down to medium low and allow it to cook for another 3 minutes.
Drain the peas, add the milk and butter and blend using a hand blender. Add salt, pepper and lemon to taste.
Bring all four elements to the plate and eat!
Quick and Naked, Garlic and Chilli Pasta
This dish is the speediest of speedy dishes! It’s all made in time it takes to cook the pasta. I have called this ‘naked pasta’ as there is nowhere to hide, the sauce is there to show off, and enhance the pasta itself, so the quality of your pasta is key. Although this pasta has a butter sauce it feels light and fresh with the lemon juice and fresh kale.
- 2 very large garlic cloves or 4 small
- 2 red chillies or more if you want it extra spicy
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 6 leaves of kale
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1/2 lemon
My thinking about cooking pasta is to use lots of boiling water, I don’t believe you need to add any oil, if you have plenty of water and space for the pasta to move it shouldn’t stick.
Pasta (12 mins)
Fill a large pan with boiling water from the kettle, its quicker than heating it straight from the tap. Once the water is boiling add some salt to season (the amount depends on the amount of water but approx. 1/2 teaspoon for every piny, a little less if using table salt). Add your pasta to the boiling water and follow the instructions on the pack but for my money I’d cook it for a couple of minutes less, I like it a little al dente.
Kale (7 mins)
We are going to cook the kale in with the pasta, rinse the kale in a little water and chop into 4cm pieces and add to the pasta water about 5 minutes after the pasta.
Sauce (4 mins)
Bring it all together
Drain the pasta and kale, keeping a little of the pasta water (about 1/2 cup) and put the pasta and kale back in the pan you cooked them in. Pour over your buttery garlicky chilli sauce, squeeze in the lemon juice and stir. The starchy pasta water and the butter almost emulsify and coat the pasta.
Options: if you don’t like kale you can change it for any other kind of cabbage, peas, spring onions, or even rocket leaves just added at the end after the butter.