YOU guys! Did you notice the new diggs? I know it's not a major change, but this little space of mine got some much needed love. The biggest deal being that there is a more organized recipe section, and that things are generally more clean and simple around here. I hope you like it.
Now, let's have some real talk about Valentine's Day tomorrow. You and I know that no guy is getting psyched up for v-day. No dude is sitting in his office hoping that some random girl, or his girlfriend, or his wife is going to send him flowers. No guy is hoping that he is going to get a box of chocolates this Friday.
You know what that means, right? That Valentine's Day is all about the gals. What the guys are going to do for the girls. I'm not talking fancy jewelry, I'm talking about a gesture … dinner, perhaps. Light some candles, put on the Hall and Oats pandora station, and crack open a bottle of wine. Whether you are a fan of valentine's day or not, a romantic home cooked meal never goes unappreciated any day of the year ….. at least in my home.
(Hi, Michael, are you taking notes?)
Broccoli + pasta are two of my favorites. Super green dishes and overall healthy yum are some my favorite things too. I guess you could say that this would make the perfect dish to make for me for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner.
Broccoli stems are totally delicious and a totally underutilized part of the vegetable. Once you peel off the tough outer skin, you are left with a crisp, bright veggie that is great for snacking, roasting, or julienned like in this recipe here.
I love pasta dishes that have a 50/50 ratio of pasta to veggies. I don't need a huge bowl of pasta to get my pasta fix on. I love to have a little taste of pasta intertwined with a lot of veggies all pulled together with a really good sauce. A little indulgence goes a long way.
broccoli stem spaghetti + creamy broccoli pesto + pine nut "cheese"
One of the best parts about this recipe is that if you don't eat pasta, you could use all broccoli stems, or whatever kinds of pasta that works into your diet. This pine nut cheese has become my go-to non-dairy substitute when I want that dusting of cheese flavor.
3 head of broccoli with long stems, chopped into florets and stems reserved
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
several basil leaves
1/2 an avocado, diced
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon of salt + a more for roasting and the pasta water
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil + more for roasting
cracked black pepper
8oz of spaghetti
for the pine nut "cheese"
1/3 cup of pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast
Prepare the broccoli:
- Pre-heat the oven to 375º.
- Place the broccoli florets on a small baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and some salt + pepper, toss to coat. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Remove, and allow to cool slightly.
- While the broccoli is roasting, prep the broccoli stem pasta. Start by peeling or slicing off the outer most layer of the stems (it is tough and fibrous which is why you want to remove it). Then, using a julienne peeling, peel the stems lengthwise so you end up with long "spaghetti-like" strands. Do this to all the stems. Set the broccoli stem pasta aside until you're ready to plate.
Make the pine nut "cheese":
- In a small pan, lightly toast the pine nuts over medium heat until they are just about to brown. This should take only 2-3 minutes.
- Place the pine nuts, salt, and nutritional yeast into a blender and pulse a couple of times until you have a roughly chopped mixture that resembles grated parmesan. Be careful not to blend too much or else you'll end up with a fine powder.
- Place in a small bowl and set aside until you're ready to plate.
Cook the pasta + prepare the pesto:
- Place the roasted broccoli into a food processor along with the garlic, avocado, basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few times to combine, and then while the food processor is running add in the olive oil. Do not run it until it is smooth, you're mixture should still have quite a bit of texture in it from the broccoli.
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add in the spaghetti and cook for a a minute less than it tells you to on the package. Strain, and reserve some of the pasta water. Do not rinse the pasta.
- Add it back into the pot and spoon the broccoli pesto over it (little by little) and toss to coat. You might not use all of the pesto, depending on how much you want to use.
Assemble + serve:
- Spoon the pasta into individual bowls. Top each with a large handful of the broccoli stem spaghetti, and finish with another handful of the pine nut "cheese". Enjoy warm.