Food & dining

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.


1bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems
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.


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

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here


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.


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