(I am super unhappy with these photos, the lighting in the kitchen was horrible and the photos don’t even begin to show how beautiful this dish was)
I am a carboholic, there I said it. I love pasta and grains. Being that I have a gluten intolerance I have been exploring and finding new carbs and various grains and I love it. Brown rice pasta is soo delicious and far lighter than the usual wheat pasta. Mark actually prefers rice pasta to regular pasta now. It is very easy to find and works in all regular pasta recipes. I am planning on trying to learn how to make my own gluten free pasta soon.
I will pretty much eat pasta any way it is prepared and I am always playing around with new recipes. This one was fantastic. After being on a cleanse for 30 days and avoiding all dairy and really going light on the carbs this was a great and light way to celebrate. There is very little cheese in this, but by adding back some of the pasta water when mixing the sauce, it give it this delicious and creamy texture. Roasting the broccoli is something I have never done before and it was brilliant, it still had a great crunch, but had that delicious brown-edged roasty flavor and the red pepper flakes gave it just the perfect amount of heat. Mark actually said “this is the single best pasta dish I have ever had, EVER!” I love when I can make something that makes him that happy.
Roasted Broccoli and Almond Penne
Adapted from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs via So Good & Tasty
3/4 cup almonds
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan reggiano, grated
salt & pepper
1 pound brown rice penne pasta
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets with a couple of glugs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Transfer to a large baking sheet and spread the broccoli into one even layer. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, until some of the edges have started to brown.
Meanwhile heat a large pot of water, it will take a while for it to come to a boil.
Place the garlic and salt in the food processor, and pulse to a fine paste. Add the almonds and grind into a chunky pesto paste. (I left it pretty chunky since I wanted to enjoy the bits of nut)
Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, then add most of the herbs. Stir in the parmesan, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Salt the pasta water generously, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve a big cup of the pasta water. Toss the almond pesto with the pasta and broccoli, if you need to thin out the sauce use the reserved water. Serve topped with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.
* A quick note on the serving sizes I follow, I tend to make recipes at their full serving size as most of what I cook makes beautiful and light lunches in the next day or two. Feel free to cut the recipes in half if you don’t brown bag it to lunch or don’t like leftovers.