Fresh and light, this vegan broccoli and chilli sauce is technically a pesto - the word a diminutive of the root 'pesta', meaning 'to crush'; the exact method we use to prepare this rough and rustic sauce, a true taste of summer in Sicily.
This vibrant pesto pasta can be enjoyed all year round, though is particularly pleasant when consumed al fresco in the summer heat - the fresh flavours are satisfying, without being overly heavy or rich. With a deep green colour, the depth of the broccoli florets contrasts beautifully with a scattering of vibrant red chillies, which lend a pleasing warmth to the dish. Fragrant basil and heady garlic finish the pesto, which gains its signature creaminess and rustic texture from a mixture of pine nuts and almonds. Paired with cavatelli, a white pasta with a shape reminiscent of seashells, this pesto dish is the perfect way to bring a taste of Sicily to your home this summer. Our chef Roberta prepares Broccoli & Chilli Pesto in the video below.
Cavatelli is a type of pasta that originated in Molise, and is enjoyed across Southern Italy. Each shape has a distinct hollow centre, with a shape not dissimilar to a shell. It is not surprising, then, that the name ‘cavatelli’ derives from the Italian verb cavare, meaning 'to hollow'. Italians have spent generations creating these small cavities by hand, by rolling short nubs of pasta on a wooden board, until a hollow is formed. Legend has it that historically, an Italian bride-to-be would have her fingertips scrutinised by her future mother-in-law - If they were callused, she was skilled at making cavatelli, and would keep her new spouse well-fed!
Cavatelli with Broccoli & Chilli Pesto Recipe
Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 451kcals
- 500g broccoli
- 20g pine nuts
- 20g blanched almonds
- 4-5 leaves basil
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 fresh red chillies
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 400g fresh cavatelli pasta - for ingredients, see this simple recipe
- Prepare your fresh cavatelli, using our easy guide or by watching the video below.
- Steam the broccoli for 20 minutes, and then wash under cold water.
- Roast the pine nuts and almonds for a few minutes in a hot pan.
- Put everything in a pestle and mortar, and grind until your preferred consistency – the pesto is just as delicious either chunky or smooth.
- Place a pan of generously salted water over a high heat. Once boiling, add your cavatelli, and cook for around 2 minutes. Strain the pasta and transfer to the pesto, tossing the mixture until well combined. If needed, you can always loosen your pesto with a tablespoon or so of the starchy pasta water.
- Once combined, plate your pasta, and serve with a smattering of red chilli, or Italian hard cheese (non-vegan). Buon Appetito.
What better way to complete this homage to Sicily, than with a delicious Italicus Spritz? For our simple summer recipe, see here. For more ways to bring Sicily to your home this summer, be sure to stop by our ‘Visit Sicily’ page, and order from our limited edition Sicilian menu, available from the 22nd - 28th June.
Will you be joining us on our trip to Sicily? Be sure to share your holiday-at-home snaps on social media using #PastaEvangelists #ItalyatHome.
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.
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