Broccoli Pesto Orzo with Lemon & Avocado

Apr 18, 2011

The rain is slowly drizzling outside the window as I sit here today. It's overcast and beautifully misty out there. The pitter patter of the rain drops hitting the roof is so peaceful. It's the kind of day that makes you just want to curl up in a big sweater, grab a wonderful book, and settle into a comfy chair. In fact, that's just what I did after making this delicious pasta dish for lunch. I'm currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I'm not too far into it yet, but so far it's been a page-turner - a little bit of World War II history, charming England, and a touch of romance all rolled into one book. I have high hopes for it.

As for this pasta. I had high hopes for it, too, upon seeing it in Heidi's new book. And, as usual, it fulfilled those high hopes. This dish is quick and easy to put together. The creme fraiche and lemon zest add a touch of brightness while a bit of diced avocado lends a bit of creaminess. This is the perfect kind of nutrition- and flavor-packed lunch I love. I hope you'll try it soon.

Also, pick up that book if you're ever on your way past the library. I think it's going to be a good one.

Notes: Heidi notes in her book that if you can't find orzo, substituting another tiny pasta, or even farro or wheat berries, would be great. I can imagine if you also don't have pine nuts on hand, walnuts would make a nice substitution.

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day

Broccoli Pesto Orzo with Avocado & Lemon

pasta & broccoli
2 cups whole-wheat orzo
Kosher salt
7 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets

(3 cups of the broccoli florets after being cooked)
2 cloves garlic
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cream

to serve
Zest of one lemon
1 large avocado, diced
Remaining toasted pine nuts
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

pasta & broccoli
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water in a separate bowl. Set the pasta and cooking water aside.
In the meantime, cook the broccoli by placing the florets in a steam backet. Cook for 3-5 minutes, just enough to take off the raw edge. Set aside.

To make the pesto, combine 3 cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, most of the pine nuts, the Parmesan, the lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and blend until smooth. Adjust the consistency so that the pesto is not too thick by adding a few tablespoons at a time of the pasta cooking water. Taste and add additional salt and lemon juice as needed.

to serve
Just before serving, toss the orzo and remaining cooked broccoli florets with the broccoli pesto and the lemon zest. Gently fold in the avocado. Serve topped with pine nuts, Parmesan, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish, a few more as a side

3 friendly note(s):

  1. I want to try this one first.

  2. I own Super Natural Every Day and have made this salad. Very good, but then again, what isn't from Heidi? Also loved Guernsey.

  3. This looks incredibly delicious! Love all the ingredients and have bookmarked this to make soon!

    New to your blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls


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