"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Universal Health Care Vs. Broccoli Pesto with pasta, olives, walnuts and feta

by Julie on June 17, 2012

in Vegetarian

You don't have to buy any of this.

Broccoli is on the front page of the New York Times this week!

Professor Paul Krugman even wrote a column about it!

Sadly, however, our much-maligned green cruciferous veggie is mentioned in context with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who reportedly said, and I paraphrase here, that if congress can mandate health insurance, it can mandate broccoli consumption too. This, of course, would render life in this fine United States all but unbearable to certain segments of our society, including Republicans, toddlers, and teenagers.

I don’t think broccoli and an affordable, universal health care plan are analogous. But then I’m not a bought and paid-for super smart Supreme Court Justice, either. What do I know?

Plus I personally don’t have a big problem with broccoli. It’s all in what you do with it.

Hence this recipe for broccoli “pesto” over pasta with olives and feta.

I found it when I looked up the blog of a gal I met over the weekend at BlogHer Food in Seattle, the charming Emily of Emmy Cooks. What I love most about her blog, apart from the mouth-watering veggie-style recipes and juicy photos, is the fact that Emmy, a crazed mom of three small children, readily admits her kids don’t eat half the stuff she makes. So she makes it anyway, hoping they’ll catch on one day (I’m still waiting myself, but why harsh her optimism?)

Here’s how you do it:

Cut about a pound of fresh broccoli up into florets, including the stems.  Bring a big pot of water to boil and blanch the florets for 30 seconds before removing them with a slotted spoon.

You can't afford the doctor, so eat your broccoli

Well salt the same water and bring it back to a boil. Then throw in your pasta.  I used curly noodles. I don’t think there’s a ruling yet on what kind of pasta is Constitutional and which kind is clearly an overreach of executive powers. Use your best judgement.

As the pasta is cooking, chop up your broccoli, and put half of it in your food processor. Add 3 Tbsp. pine nuts,  1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2 Tbsp of the pasta water if needed. Combine, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides. Churn until you have a nice, smooth, sauce-like consistency.

Is it pesto? Or just fluffy broccoli?

I never quite got to the creamy/saucy, but I did make a nice fluff.

Put this on top of pasta and add kalamata olives, toasted walnuts, and some feta cheese.

OK so I'm no food stylist...

Like my daydream of living in a country with a public health care option along the lines of Canada or England, I also fantasized that the nits would actually eat this pesto’d broccoli.

The looks on their faces suggested I had been foolish and naive.

“Broccoli pesto?” The Drama Teen curled her upper lip in disgust. “Mom, that doesn’t sound appealing in any way.”

Sigh. Maybe if Congress deems the Affordable Health Care Plan Constitutional, they can also then mandate that all children eat their broccoli. I doubt it, though. Seems toddlers and teenagers won’t like broccoli no matter how it’s presented to them.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Mazzy June 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Natalia never knows I puree broccoli and carrots in her pasta sauce and her pizza sauce. I also put small florets in her dinner salads. Broccoli pesto sounds like it would have a different texture, guess I got to try it. Does it make one gassy? Lol


emmycooks June 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm

It’s a shame to see broccoli so maligned as a political tactic. I won’t say more for fear of jinxing the future of the nation. Also because, as you say, I’m an optimist–thanks for letting me carry on with my conviction that my girls will probably jump on the broccoli bandwagon as soon as they turn 6. Or 7?


Julie June 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm

…Emily, it might be more like 24…stay tuned…(and thanks for a fun recipe!)


noel June 19, 2012 at 11:04 am

i have one word for you….CHEESE! my kids will eat anything if it’s topped with cheese!


Julie June 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

I know, right? I should know better! Hide it under cheese and then profess ignorance until they’ve tasted it and like it…


couldbe July 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

No garlic?
Add more pasta water to get the thinner texture (or add oil).

I’d eat it if it were sauce-like, but as lumps of smashed broccoli fluff? No, thanks. 😉


Julie July 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Yeah, neither did the nits. So you’re in good company 🙂


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