Transforming Broccoli

The lovely green florets of broccoli have not always appealed to me. Even now, broccoli doesn’t rank very high in my list of preferred vegetables (in fact, it’s pretty much at the bottom). I’ll tolerate it, though (and even sometimes like it – shocker!), since it’s loaded with such vitamin-packed goodness. It packs quite a hit of Vitamin C, so combined with the tomatoes in this recipe, it gives you a double dose that helps deter the pesky colds that rear their ugly heads during the chillier months.

When I was younger and found the irksome green vegetable mocking me from my plate, I would hide each bite of broccoli in something more delicious (rice pilaf, for example). I’ll still try to transform it, but when I see it at the farmer’s market, I no longer turn my back and ignore it. I grudgingly walk over, get a nice big bunch, and then enjoy a batch of this pasta with broccoli sauce. I’ll be the first to admit it’s delicious, and it’s easily made vegan without the sprinkle of cheese on top, or gluten-free with gluten-free pasta.

The tomatoes were a new addition to this recipe. Due to the looming threat of frosty nights, I harvested all of the tomatoes from my garden (even those that were still completely green), and lined them up on my windowsill to finish ripening in the sunshine and cozy warmth of the kitchen. Now that they’re all ripe, I’ve been adding them to everything I’ve been cooking. It will be sad when they’re all gone – no more home-grown tomatoes until next year!IMG_5341

Broccoli and Tomato Pasta

Ingredients

½ lb. pasta (I used penne)IMG_5339
1 head broccoli
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
⅓ cup almond milk
chili flakes, black pepper, and salt
4 small tomatoes, chopped

Grated Pecorino cheese for serving (Parmesan can also be used!)

Instructions

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook until done, and then drain. Toss with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to prevent sticking.
2. Slice florets off the head of broccoli. Peel stems (this helps them cook faster), and chop into 1-inch pieces. Add both florets and stems to a steamer or put them in a pot of boiling water. Steam or boil until tender. If steaming, remove from steamer when cooked, and if boiling, remove from water.
3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook approx. 5 min. until softened, then add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
4. Add broccoli, almond milk, and chili flakes/black pepper/salt to taste. Stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
5. Remove from heat and toss broccoli mixture into a food processor. Process until smooth. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
6. Return sauce to pan, and add pasta and tomatoes. Stir until thoroughly heated through.
7. Serve with a healthy sprinkle of cheese.

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