Fresh Summer Eats: Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Winter in the north brings broccoli fatigue.  Supermarkets present an array of hardy cabbage-family plants including broccoli, green and red cabbages, and kale, beside wilted imported heat-loving vegetables that are clearly shocked by the frigid climate.  I quickly pass by the broccoli each spring when my garden begins producing asparagus and various fresh greens.

But now, even our mid-April blizzard is a fuzzy memory.  By midsummer, winter is forgotten in the joys of long sunlight hours, warm days at the lakes, and the amazing vitality of the landscape.  The farmers markets present fresh, tender, local broccoli and fragrant, spicy basil.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta can be ready 30 minutes after picking the basil.  It’s a fast and delicious summer meal that is also refrigerator-friendly for advance preparation, and travels well for picnics and lunches.  The broccoli fades into the background behind the strong basil and garlic flavors, but keeps the pesto a beautiful green even after time in the refrigerator.

I use Bon Appetit’s recipe and add a clove of garlic and a few walnuts or almonds. The  broccoli adds a lot of bulk and I find that this is enough for a pound of pasta, or a half pound of pasta and steamed vegetables.

Quick dinners and leftovers for future meals leave us more time to feel like we’re on vacation.  What are your favorite quick, tasty meals?

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