According to America’s Test Kitchen, Pestocado is the “hottest new ‘it’ sauce.” Avocado replaces the cheese in this full-flavored pesto. It was creamy and delicious.
The recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbook, More Mediterranean, via americastestkitchen.com. I modified the method and used linguine fini, Meyer lemon, walnuts, and two garlic cloves. Easy and great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 1 T table salt, for cooking broccoli and pasta
- 12 to 16 ounces broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound spaghettini, or spaghetti
- 1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios or walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
- 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
- 2 tsp toasted fennel seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice (I used Meyer lemon)
- 1/4 cup (4 T) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- freshly ground black pepper
- Heat an oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Coarsely chop.
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon table salt and broccoli stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add florets and cook until stalks and florets are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to colander set over bowl (do not discard boiling water). Let broccoli drain and cool slightly, about 5 minutes; set aside.
- Add pasta to reserved boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
- Process 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, avocado, basil, 1/4 cup chopped nuts, anchovies, fennel seeds, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and coarse salt in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- With processor running, slowly add oil until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
- Add pesto to pasta in pot and toss until sauce evenly coats pasta, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed.
- Stir in remaining broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pistachios. Garnish with fresh basil and drizzle with extra oil, as desired. Serve.