Broccoli and pesto tagliatelle

Broccoli is one of those vegetables I regard as a necessary evil. You know its good for you, but you eat it begrugingly. Thats why when I saw it in pasta, my first thought was EWWWWWW. But, I decided to give Jamie Olivers Ministry of Food recipe a go anyway. Pasta is not necessarily good for you – so if you can combine the goodness of the evil broccoli with the carby goodness of the pasta… it would have to be a winner, right?

What I didn’t realise would happen, is how much we would both like this. The broccoli had a different flavour to when you simply boil it as a side dish, and the potato really did give a bit of creaminess to the dish. I think the fresh pesto I made also helped!


“This is a quick version of a classic Italian dish called tagliatelle alla Genovese. Before you think Im barmy for putting potato shavings into a pasta dish, I should explain that it is actually very authentic to add sliced or mashed potato to pasta. It lends a wonderful creaminess that works so well and tastes amazing – you must try it.”


1 medium potato
1 head of broccoli
a large bunch of fresh basil
70g parmesan cheese (omitted)
sea salt
400g dried tagliatelle
4 tablespoons green pesto

To prepare your pasta 

  • Wash and peel the potato and cut into very thin shavings using a peeler
  • Slice the end off the broccoli stalk
  • Cut little broccoli florets off the head and put them to one side
  • Halve the thick stalk lengthways, then slice thinly
  • Pick the basil leaves and discard the stalks
  • Grate parmesan

 To cook your pasta

  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil
  • Add the tagliatelle and broccoli stalks and cook accordingly
  • 2 minutes before the tagliatelle is cooked, add the broccoli florets and potato slices
  • Drain everything in a colander over a large bowl, reserving some of the cooking water and return to pan
  • Roughly chop your basil leaves and add to the pan with pesto and half the parmesan
  • Give it a good stir and if the sauce is too thick, add a splash of the cooking water to thin it out

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