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Chinese Broccoli Pesto Pasta

It’s pesto, but not as you know it. Here, the base of this version uses Chinese broccoli instead of the traditional basil, and the result is exceptional. As well as this Chinese broccoli pesto pasta recipe, try it as a dip, spread on toast or as a coating for chicken or fish.

10 minutes
55 minutes

400g (14 oz) spaghetti

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle


Chinese broccoli pesto:

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

1 small bunch (about 400g/14 oz) Chinese broccoli, also known as gai lan

½ cup finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

1 tsp sea salt

6 confit garlic cloves

½ lemon, zest and juice


Confit garlic:

1 head of garlic, cloves peeled

2 cups extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).

  • Step 2

    To make the confit garlic, place the garlic cloves, olive oil and salt in a small roasting tin or casserole dish. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until the garlic is lovely and golden. Allow to cool completely.

  • Step 3

    For the pesto, place the pine nuts on a small tray and roast in the oven for 8-10 mins or until lightly golden brown. Leave to cool.

  • Step 4

    Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Have a bowl of iced water set to the side of your pot. Trim and discard the woody ends of the Chinese broccoli stems, then cut the broccoli into roughly 4cm (1.5”) lengths. Cook the broccoli in the boiling water for a minute or until vibrant green and tender. Drain and place broccoli into the iced water bowl immediately to chill. Once cold, remove from water and dry with a clean towel to remove any excess water.

  • Step 5

    In a food processor, place the parmesan cheese, cooked broccoli, pine nuts and salt. Blend until smooth. Then add 6 cloves of confit garlic, ¼ cup of the confit garlic oil, lemon zest and juice. Blitz for a further 1 minute until smooth.

  • Step 6

    Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Drain the spaghetti and pour it out into the pan along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pesto and half a cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Toss the spaghetti in the sauce for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce is thick and glossy. Divide among serving bowls. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and sprinkle over more parmesan cheese.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

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