Broccoli Mint Pesto

The rain has finally left us and this weekend has been absolutely beautiful! Even though Chris & I planned to plant our garden boxes next weekend, I couldn't help but plant something today while he was out of town. While on my Sunday errands, I picked up zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, and cilantro from my local nursery and planted them in the ground this afternoon. I also finished a Meyer lemon thyme sorbet (more on that in a later post) and made mango chutney (to use this week with dinners). A few days ago, I picked up ingredients for a slightly modified version of a broccoli pesto I read about online and I was really excited to make it today. Basil isn't quite ready yet, and while I enjoy the arugula and cilantro pestos, I was ready for something different. And this is!

The mint and parsley add a beautiful vibrant flavor and it is super garlicky - just the way I like it. Tossed with whole wheat penne and topped with grated Parm and toasted hazelnuts, it is a perfect dinner for a summer evening. And, if I didn't have to pick Chris up from the airport later, I would definitely be pairing this with a glass of 2008 Clos du Val Chardonnay that is patiently resting in my wine fridge right now.


Broccoli Mint Pesto
Makes about 2 cups

1/4 c plus two tbsp blanched hazelnuts
2 c broccoli florets
1 1/2 c parsley leaves, loosely packed
1/4 c plus 2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c mint leaves, loosely packed
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
5 large garlic cloves, peeled (if you prefer a less garlicky flavor, use 3-4 cloves)
Salt & fresh ground pepper

Toast hazelnuts in skillet over medium heat until golden and fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes, shaking the skillet often. Cool, chop coarsely, and set aside.

Bring large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of kosher salt. Cook broccoli in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the food processor

Pulse broccoli, hazelnuts, parsley, olive oil, mint, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic in food processor until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Toss with pasta, spread on crostini or crackers, whatever you like!