Delicious Broccoli Asparagus Pesto Pasta: Fettuccine in a simple creamy sauce, with the contrasting crunch of broccoli, asparagus and almonds - a delicious pasta, quick and easy to make. The addition of basil pesto to the sauce gives a rich and delicious taste and perks up the Pasta.
This is a good looking pasta, with the fettuccine looping around the fresh bright green spears of asparagus and chunks of broccoli, interspersed with the toasted almonds, the whole coated with creamy sauce and basil pesto.
Ingredients and Substitutes in Broccoli Asparagus Pasta
I love the combination of fettuccine, basil pine nut pesto, almonds, broccoli and asparagus. It gives the texture, flavour and taste that makes the dish a gastronomically satisfying one. However this is a flexible recipe and most of the key ingredients may be substituted to give a different flavour profile. Here are some recommendations:
Any variety of pasta goes in this recipe. Fettuccine, tagliatelle or other ribbon shaped pasta are my favourites here as the pesto covers the the surface. Penne pasta, bucatini, fusilli or orecchiette suit well too.
Pesto brings a burst of flavour to the pasta and is key to the dish. I had my favourite purple basil pesto when I made this the first time, but you could add any pesto that you like. A basil pesto with pine nuts or pistachio nuts, a fennel frond pesto, a sun dried tomato pesto or any other which you have handy. As there is cheese in the sauce, you do not need to add cheese to the pesto.
Almonds are my nuts of choice for broccoli asparagus pesto pasta. Again, they could be substituted with other nuts. Pistachio would be a good choice.
Cheddar or Pecorino Romano are the cheese I recommend for the pasta. I wouldn't advise a very aged cheese though. You want to lift the pasta from being bland but you don't want the cheese to overwhelm the taste of the other ingredients.
Broccoli Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Almonds and Basil Pesto
For the Pasta and Vegetables
- 2 litre Water for boiling pasta
- 10 Asparagus spears/stalks
- 70 gms Broccoli florets 1 cup
- 200 gms Fettuccine
- 14 gms Salt 2.5 teaspoons ie 1.25 teaspoons or 7gms for every litre of water; or as required
- Ice cold water
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup Cream
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 3 tablespoons Basil pesto without cheese
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper ground
- ¼ cup Cheddar cheese grated
For the Garnish:
- 8 - 10 Almonds
- ¼ cup Cheddar cheese grated
- a few basil leaves
To Prepare the Vegetables (prep ~3 minutes; cooking time 5 minutes)
- Snap off the thick bottom stalks of the asparagus and keep aside for later use such as in soup. Cut the asparagus tips to about an inch or longer, depending on how long the tips are, and set aside. Slice the remaining stalk into rounds.
- Slice the broccoli, retaining the shape of the florets.
- Set a large tall pot or a pasta cooker on the stove, add water and salt. Bring to a boil and add the sliced broccoli and asparagus. Blanch for 2 minutes, keeping the water on boil, drain and remove. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl of cold water into which ice has been added. This will stop the vegetables from cooking further, and help retain their bright green colours. Drain after one minute.Note: If you are using a pasta cooker with a sieved inner container it is easy to lift the vegetables, let the water drain back into the pot and use this for cooking the pasta. Alternatively just add two cups of water to the pot to blanch the asparagus and broccoli, and after this is done, top up the pot with water as required for boiling the pasta as below.
To Cook the Pasta (Cooking time 8-10 minutes or as per package instructions)
- Top up the water in the pot/ pasta cooker, as per pasta package instructions and add salt as required.Note: The pasta brand I use recommends 1 litre for every 100 gm of pasta, and 7 gm of salt for each litre.
- Bring the water in the pot back to a rolling boil (boiling all over the pot) and add fettuccine. Cook as per package instructions, stirring frequently. Turn off the stove when the pasta is done till al dente, and set aside.Note: The brand I used specified 6 minutes.
To Make Cream Sauce for Broccoli Asparagus Pasta (Time: ~5 mins)
- Warm the cream on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add butter and whisk until it combines with the cream. Add pesto, whisk again. Add salt and pepper, stir.
- Add the cheese when the sauce is still warm, and stir till it melts and combines with the sauce. Remove the sauce from the stove and set the container in a pot of hot water so it remains warm. If you make the sauce ahead of time, don't add cheese. Instead add cheese after adding the vegetables in the step below.
To Put the Broccoli Asparagus Pesto Pasta together (Prep 2 minutes; Cooking 5 minutes)
- Slice the almonds. Heat a pan and toast the almonds for 2 minutes stirring continuously and remove from the pan before they begin to char/ blacken.Slice the almonds.
- Add olive oil to the heated pan. Mince and add the garlic or crush directly into the oil. Sauté for a minute.Add the blanched broccoli and asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the grated cheese if you have not added it to the sauce in the step above.Toss the drained pasta, the vegetables and the sauce together. Garnish with sliced almonds, grated cheese and basil leaves and serve hot.