Broccoli & Pesto Orecchiette


IMG_0131 I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Jamie Oliver is responsible for so many amazing things that have become of the modern food world. He took cooking off its snooty pedestal and made the kitchen approachable again. His no bull approach invited so many of us to rediscover that shattered confidence and get back to real, honest to goodness home cooking.

If you haven't had a chance to flick through Jamie's 15 Minute Meals cookbook, then here's a little something to get your appetite fired up. One of my favourite recipes in the cookbook is this one - Broccoli & Pesto Orecchiette. The original recipe calls for anchovies, but I left them out for my sister who doesn't eat seafood and it was still completely and utterly delicious. What we loved most was the hearty, dense orecchiette - a pasta I didn't cook until it was introduced to me by Mr. Oliver. The way the pesto sat in the curves of the pasta meant that each bite was bursting with the garden fresh flavour of basil.

Now for the million dollar question - did it actually take 15 minutes?

While I pride myself on speedy cooking, I actually took me just under 30 - but that was mainly because I was doing what my mother brainwashed me with at a young age... washing up as I cooked. #EthnicMother


Broccoli & Pesto Orecchiette

You will need 320 grams dried orecchiette 1 bunch of fresh basil (or one firmly packed cup) Juice and zest of one lemon 2 cloves of garlic 1 dried red chilli 30 grams parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve 1/4 cup olive oil 1 large head of broccoli

Put the orecchiette in a pot of boiling salted water, cook as per the packet instructions.

Put the basil, olive oil, the zest and juice of one lemon, garlic, parmesan, and a splash of boiling water into a small food processor and blend until smooth. Crumble in the dried chilli, then pour into a large bowl and set aside.

Cut the florets off the broccoli, and add them to the pasta pot for the last minute of the orecchiette's cooking time.

Reserve a cupful of the starchy pasta cooking water. Once the pasta is cooked and the broccoli is tender, drain with a colander.

Add the orecchiette and broccoli to the bowl of sauce, and toss together. Use some of the hot starchy water to loosen. Pour onto a platter, drizzle with olive oil, and top with extra parmesan.


The original recipe appears in Jamie's 15 Minute Meals and is available online and in store at Dymocks Books