Cheese Tortellini with Broccoli Pesto
Pasta with pesto sauce is always such a treat. I love pesto because it’s just decadent enough without being too over the top. We often make our own pesto, but I also really love the Pesto & Quinoa from Trader Joe’s—the quinoa adds a bit of texture and it has tons of nutritional benefits (I throw quinoa on practically everything).
This time, though, we went for something a bit different: broccoli pesto! You start by steaming the broccoli and pureeing it in a food processor with the rest of the pesto ingredients, then you simmer it down into a thick, lovely sauce. You could just add the steamed broccoli on top of your pasta, of course, but sometimes it’s nice to sneak veggies into a sauce.
For the pasta, we made another decadent choice: cheese tortellini. I absolutely adore the Giovanni Rana line of products because the pasta tastes super fresh and is obviously homemade. Plus, the Five Cheese Tortellini that we chose actually isn’t super high in calories; a family-sized bag yields six servings, and it’s just 260 calories per serving. Not bad at all! We topped the pasta with grilled asparagus (you can tell below that our dogs Beau and Cooper love it) and additional Parmesan cheese.
1 bag of Giovanni Rana 5 Cheese Tortellini, cooked according to package directions
1 head of broccoli
1 c. fresh basil
1/2 c. olive oil
5 garlic cloves
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. Parmesan + extra to garnish
3/4 t. cayenne
1 red onion, diced
1 bunch of asparagus
2 c. veggie broth
1 T. butter
Salt & pepper, to taste
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop the rough ends off the asparagus and toss with a bit of olive oil + salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place the asparagus onto the baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes, remove and toss, then cook for another 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into florets and place inside a steamer. Put the steamer into a large pot and fill the pot with water so that the water level is just under the steamer. Cover, turn on high and cook for for minutes. Remove from heat.
3) Add the broccoli, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, basil, lemon juice, Parmesan and cayenne pepper to a food processor and purée until smooth.
4) Heat a large pot over high heat. Add 1 T. Butter and melt, then add the diced red onion and cook for three minutes.
5) Next, add the broccoli mixture and cook for three minutes, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to medium. Pour in two cups vegetable broth, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until much of the liquid evaporates and it becomes the consistency of a thick sauce, about 25 minutes.
6) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the sauce is about five minutes away from being done, add the pasta to the pot and cook for four minutes. Drain and remove from heat.
7) Remove the broccoli pesto sauce from the stove and pour the tortellini into the sauce. Stir well to combine.
8) Scoop the tortellini into bowls and serve topped with asparagus and additional Parmesan.