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.
Growing up, my mom frequently made what we referred to as “white spaghetti” (aka spaghetti without red sauce!). The pasta was coated with garlicky olive oil and topped with crispy garlic slices, broccoli florets, and Parmesan cheese. Classic. 🙂
This version is from Old World Italian: Recipes & Secrets from Our Travels in Italy by Mimi Thorisson. The recipe is included in the “Roman Pastas” section of this beautiful book. It is a little bit more indulgent than my mom’s rendition because it contains more cheese as well as heavy cream. I loved that the broccoli was chopped and incorporated into the creamy sauce.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 large head broccoli and stems (about 1 pound or 450g), cut into small florets and coarsely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the broccoli and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Remove with a kitchen spider or slotted spoon and set aside, keeping the water boiling to cook the pasta.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups (500ml) of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the empty pot and set aside.
Chop the onion and mince the garlic in a food processor. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté until tender and golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the cream over the mixture and cook for 15 seconds. Remove from heat.
Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor and process until roughly creamy.
Add the broccoli sauce and a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water to the pot of pasta and set the pot over medium heat. Cook, tossing frequently, adding more pasta water as needed to adjust the consistency, until the pasta is well coated, 1 to 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl, if desired. Scatter the grated Parmesan on top and serve immediately.
I love trying new ways to use summer zucchini. Making pasta sauce out of grated zucchini is absolute genius! This dish gobbled up all of the zucchini that I received in my CSA share- amazing.
This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen.com. I used bucatini (our favorite) instead of spaghetti. I also modified the proportions and method. It was a vegetarian crowd-pleaser. Super quick to prepare too.
Yield: Serves 5 to 6
3 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for pasta water, and to taste
16 ounces (1 pound, 450 grams) bucatini, cooked al dente (I used De Cecco)(can substitute with spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine)
2 cups (470 ml) pasta water, reserved
2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 1100 to 1300 grams) zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated (I used 3 large zucchini- about 8 cups grated)
1 generous cup (90 grams) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (about 2 large handfuls)
Mince the garlic cloves in a food processor. Set aside.
Coarsely grate the zucchini in a food processor, emptying the bowl as necessary. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
Add the garlic, stirring it into the butter for one minute.
Add the zucchini, salt, and red pepper. Cook the zucchini, stirring from time to time, for 13 to 15 minutes. It will first let off a puddle liquid, the liquid will cook off, and the zucchini will become soft and concentrated. If the zucchini begins to brown, reduce the heat slightly.
Stir frequently for 2 more minutes until it reaches an almost spreadable consistency.
Meanwhile, boil your pasta in well-salted water until it’s 1 minute shy of fully cooked. Before you drain it, reserve 2 cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside. (I cooked my pasta for 9 minutes.)
Pour in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water into the zucchini and butter mixture scraping up any browned bits.
Add the drained pasta, and cook together for 2 minutes. Use tongs to pull up the zucchini butter sauce into the pasta strands, tossing frequently, and adding some or all of the remaining pasta water as needed to loosen.
Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
Incorporate a generous half of the parmesan and basil and mix, then transfer to a serving bowl, if desired. (I served the pasta from my cast iron pan!)
I first heard about this spectacularly easy viral pasta dish from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. I think I was the last to know… My daughter has seen countless people make it on TikTok, of course. 😉 She was absolutely thrilled to make it with me!
The original recipe is called “Uunifetapasta,” created by the Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinen. The foundation of the dish is a block of feta placed in the center of a baking dish surrounded by seasoned tomatoes. After being baked, the cheese and burst tomatoes are combined to create a creamy and delicious sauce to serve over pasta. Deb Perelman incorporated chickpeas in her version- nice.
This version from the Washington Post, contributed by Aaron Hutcherson, recommended using Greek sheep’s milk feta to maximize the creaminess. I used an enameled cast iron baking pan, modified the proportions and incorporated za’atar to the seasoning on the tomatoes prior to baking. It was super creamy and tasty- and as simple and easy to prepare as expected.
Yield: Serves 6
3 pints (750 to 800 g) grape or cherry tomatoes
5 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
8 T (1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 block (10.5 oz) Greek feta cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
za’atar, to taste, optional
17 to 18 oz medium-length dried pasta, such as campanile, rigatoni, or rotini (I used Gigli)
fresh basil leaves, for serving
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the tomatoes, garlic and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking pan.)
Sprinkle the tomatoes with some salt and toss to coat. Sprinkle with za’atar, if using.
Place the feta cheese in the center of the tomatoes and garlic, top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle the entire dish with red pepper flakes and a little black pepper.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic has softened and the tomatoes have burst their skins.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir the feta and tomatoes with a wooden spoon until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
Mix the sauce with pasta, adding the reserved pasta water as needed if it looks a little dry. (I incorporated quite a bit of pasta water.)
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I added garlic and white wine. Yummy comfort food.
Yield: Serves 4
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb mixed mushrooms (such as maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces (I used 10oz quartered cremini and 8oz torn shiitake)
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb spaghetti or 12 oz bucatini
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 oz Parmesan, finely grated (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
freshly ground black pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high. Cook half of mushrooms in a single layer, undisturbed, until edges are brown and starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Give mushrooms a toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until all sides are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes more.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a plate; season with salt.
Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and mushrooms and more salt.
Finely chop the shallots and garlic in a mini-food processor, if desired.
Reduce heat to medium-low and return all of the mushrooms to the pot. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add cream, white wine, and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Remove pot from heat. Add lemon zest and juice, parsley, butter, 1/2 oz Parmesan, and lots of pepper and toss to combine.
Taste and season with more salt if needed. Adjust consistency with additional pasta water, if needed.
Divide pasta among bowls and top with more Parmesan and parsley, as desired.
I used fresh noodles from an Asian grocery that were the most similar to fresh ramen noodles. This dish was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I modified the proportions and method. Great.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
2.5 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 lbs ground pork, divided
1 2 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin matchsticks or finely chopped
10 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 1/2 T granulated sugar
2 1/2 T tomato paste
2 sprigs basil, plus more for serving
6 T hot chili paste (I used sambal oelek)
5 T soy sauce
5 T unseasoned rice vinegar
2 lbs fresh ramen noodles or 16 to 20oz dried spaghetti
2 1/2 T unsalted butter
Heat oil in a large wide heavy pot over medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add half of pork to pot, breaking apart into 6–8 large chunks with a wooden spoon. Cook, undisturbed, until well browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Turn pieces and continue to cook, turning occasionally, until pork is browned on 2–3 sides, about 5 minutes longer.
Add ginger, garlic, sugar, and remaining pork to pot and cook, breaking up pork into small clumps, until meat is nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.
Add tomato paste and 2 basil sprigs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until paste darkens, about 2 minutes.
Add chili paste, soy sauce, vinegar, and 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened and flavors have melded, 30–45 minutes.
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute short of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. (I cooked 1 pound of noodles at a time for 1 minute each, removing the first batch with a bamboo strainer.)
Add to cooked noodles to the pot with sauce along with butter and a splash of pasta cooking liquid. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until sauce begins to cling to noodles, about 1 minute. Pluck out basil sprigs.
Adjust consistency with additional pasta water, as desired.
This recipe is absolute GENIUS. It was a genius idea for me to make it on Super Bowl Sunday too. I am usually cooking while my family is watching the game- and commercials- in another room. This year, the meal was cooked and ready to go; it was kept warm in the pressure cooker with the lid in place while I was sitting on the sofa with everyone. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I increased the garlic and used ground turkey and whole wheat spaghetti. I also made it in my stove top pressure cooker instead of an Instant Pot. We enjoyed it with garlic bread and Caesar salad. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Sauce:
3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-4garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
¼teaspoon red-pepper flakes
¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1teaspoon kosher salt
2basil sprigs, plus more thinly sliced for serving
8ounces whole wheat spaghetti (not thin spaghetti), broken in half
2tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1cup ricotta (optional)
For the Meatballs:
1pound ground turkey (or substitute veal, pork or beef)
¼cup panko bread crumbs
¼cup grated Parmesan
2tablespoons chopped basil
1teaspoon kosher salt
1 to 2garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a stove top pressure cooker or Instant Pot on sauté. Stir in garlic, red pepper and black pepper, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Stir in tomatoes, salt and basil sprigs; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, bread crumbs, Parmesan, chopped basil, egg, salt and garlic. Roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. (I used a large cookie scoop and placed them on a large plate, shaping them into balls when I placed them into the pot.)
Pour 1 cup water into sauce in pot, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pot.
Scatter uncooked spaghetti over the sauce.
Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon oil over spaghetti, stirring gently (try to keep the spaghetti on top of the sauce), then top with meatballs.
Cover and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Manually release the pressure, then remove the cover and stir to separate the spaghetti.
Stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
At this point, the pasta will be almost but not quite cooked through. Place the top back on the pressure cooker (loosely) and let it sit for 3 to 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and spaghetti is al dente but not mushy.
Serve dolloped with ricotta, if using, and sprinkled with thinly sliced basil and more Parmesan if you like.