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    Seasonal Recipes

    Pasta with broccoli, white beans, ricotta, and parsley pesto

    Pasta with broccoli, white beans, ricotta, and parsley pesto.
    Karoline Boehm-Goodnick for The Boston Globe
    Pasta with broccoli, white beans, ricotta, and parsley pesto.

    Serves 4

    Choose any small curved or twisted pasta for this, preferably with shallow ridges (cellentani, rotini, gemelli, and others), so the sauce falls into the crevices when it is tossed. Parsley pesto, which can be made ahead (let it sit at room temperature before tossing with the pasta), is a good cold-weather alternative to basil pesto.

    PARSLEY PESTO

    1bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems
    removed
    3scallions, thinly sliced
    2garlic cloves, chopped
    3tablespoons walnuts
    ½teaspoon salt
    ¼teaspoon black pepper
    ¼cup freshly grated Parmesan
    ¼cup olive oil
    3tablespoons water

    1. In a processor, work the parsley, scallions, garlic, walnuts, salt, and pepper until it is finely chopped.

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    2. With the motor running, blend in the Parmesan, olive oil, and water until it forms a puree.

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    PASTA

    1can (about 15 ounces) Great Northern or other white beans
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    6ounces (2 cups) small curved or twisted pasta
    1pound broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size pieces, stems peeled
    1cup skim-milk ricotta

    1. Drain the beans.

    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Just before the pasta is fully cooked, remove 1 cup pasta cooking water. Add the beans to the pasta and cook for 1 minute to heat them through. Drain the pasta and beans and transfer to a large bowl; cover and keep warm.

    3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer insert and several inches of boiling water, steam the broccoli in a covered pan for 4 minutes or until it is bright green and tender.

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    4. Add the broccoli, pesto, and about ½ cup of the cooking water to the pasta and beans. Toss well. Spoon dollops of the ricotta here and there on the mixture. Toss gently. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like, and more pasta cooking water, to thin the mixture if necessary. Jean Kressy