I don't recall the original inspiration for this recipe--it was likely from one of the many cookbooks which have passed through my hands. It makes for a light vegetarian dinner; a heartier eater could enjoy this as a side with a serving of grilled poultry or beef. And there is room for improv: walnuts can stand in for the pine nuts, and any kind of raisins will do. In a pinch I've even subbed in sundried tomatoes. My family enjoys the sweet-and-tangy, green-and-umami flavors of this dish; every bite is a different taste sensation. Mangia! —Windischgirl
bunch broccoli, with stems
clove garlic, crushed
pine nuts or coarsely chopped walnuts
golden or Thompson raisins
basil pesto--be generous! or chopped basil can be substituted
Wash and trim the broccoli. Cut the florets into bite-size pieces and reserve. Peel the fibrous layer off the broccoli stems and discard; cut the stems into pieces about the size of a nickle and add to the reserved florets.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving about 3/4 cup of the pasta water.
While waiting for the pasta to cook, heat a 2-inch deep saute pan over medium, and add the oil to warm. Add in the pine nuts and crushed garlic and saute gently until lightly browned and fragrant. Add the raisins, then add the broccoli all at once, stir, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and add a splash of the pasta cooking water. Cover.
Let the broccoli steam for a minute or two, them remove the lid and turn up the heat to brown and caramelize some parts of the broccoli. Stir often; you want the broccoli to be bright green yet firm.
Meanwhile, stir a generous Tablespoonful or two of pesto into about 3/4 c. of the reserved pasta water until it's evenly blended. Pour over the broccoli, stir until evenly blended, and continue cooking until the broccoli is crisp-tender and the sauce heated through. Adjust seasonings and serve over the pasta, topped with a fresh grating of cheese.