Sunday, 27 July 2014

Summer Recipe // Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Red Pesto




So, this was my Sunday afternoon. After waking up at about 11.30am (damn you over-effective blackout curtains!) by some miracle I managed to have breakfast, go for a run, get ready and pop out to shop for some groceries/run errands all before 2pm. Not too shabby, eh? Of course by this point I was pretty peckish and decided to create a yummy, fresh meal. A few days ago I was scouring Pinterest, or perhaps it was Instagram/somebody’s blog, when I came across some sort of pasta salad with broccoli. I only saw it in passing but I’ve been unable to get it out of my head since, so I decided to pull inspiration from it and try to create something that looked just as irresistible myself.

The final verdict? Pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself. Perfect to be enjoyed hot or cold, by itself or as a side, perhaps with some barbecue food. I’ve even shoved some of the leftovers into some tupperware to take to work. Unfortunately there wasn’t that much left over, as even the fussy boyfriend took a liking to it! A roaring success in my books. I enjoyed mine with some lemon water, and a strawberry yoghurt with some raspberries for dessert. This is the way to enjoy a summer afternoon!


You will need (to serve two generous helpings):

  • 200g pasta
  • 75g broccoli
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 3tbsp (generous) cream cheese (with garlic & herbs - optional)
  • 1 1/2tbsp red pesto
  • 1/4 lemon






The first step is picking your pasta. I’m sure that this would look really fun with some different coloured pasta, and could of course be simply made with penne, but I think that throwing some shapes in there makes all the difference when it comes to presentation. Put your pasta in some boiling water with a little olive oil and salt for the recommended amount of time while you chop up your broccoli. I wanted the broccoli to blend in with the sauce, so I cut most of the stalks off until I was left with itty bitty pieces. If you want very soft broccoli like I had mine, chuck your broccoli bits in your pasta water about five minutes before the pasta is ready. Adjust accordingly if you prefer yours with a bit more of a crunch.

This is the perfect time to start preparing your sauce. I cheated a bit and used a ready-seasoned cream cheese, but feel free to add your own garlic and herbs to flavour. I used around 3tbsp of cream cheese, and about half as much of red pesto. This was just enough to coat the pasta with a nice flavour without being overbearing. The bit that really made the difference for me, though, was the lemon juice that I squeezed into the sauce for an added bit of freshness. Although I didn’t actually measure this bit, I’d say that I added the juice of a little less than a quarter of a lemon. I likes my lemons. Mix your sauce ingredients together in a big bowl (feel free to add a couple of pinches of pepper!), then add your pasta and broccoli after it has been drained. Make sure you mix this really well so that the sauce coats all of your pasta.

I chose to add my tomatoes the very last so that they retained as much freshness and juiciness as possible. Cut them as big or small as you wish (I went for sixths) and then carefully mix in. Now that your pasta is ready, feel free to eat it straight away while it’s still warm or leave in the fridge until you fancy it!

What's your favourite meal for a summer lunch?


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