Saturday, September 17, 2011

Penne & Broccoli with Pesto Cream Sauce

NOT your normal thick Alfredo Sauce at all. My wife and mother in law actually prefer thinner sauces, while i am always a fan of the cheesy goo. Dad wouldn't be Dad without the family, so I love to cook to their preferences.

1 lb Penne or other medium tube pasta, love the Barilla enriched
1 qt Heavy Cream
1 cup Grated Parmesan or Romano -Break the Rules, use the cheap stuff
4 cups Broccoli Crowns, fresh, cut off stem into big bite pieces
2 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store brand (classic basil & garlic)
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a deep 12 inch skillet, saute the broccoli in olive oil over medium heat for a 2-3 minutes.Salt and pepper to taste here. Raise heat to medium high and add the chicken stock to steam the broccoli for just a couple minutes if you like it firm, as do i.

 Remove the broccoli to a bowl, leaving the stock in the pan, reducing heat to simmer, reducing stock by about half to concentrate the flavor. Whisk in the pesto and add the cream. My family loves a lot of sauce, mainly to soak up with bread. Use at least 2 1/2 cups of cream if you think the quart is too much. Let the cream heat up a bit before adding the grated cheese. If your budget allow the "good" cheese, by all means use it. Quite honestly, i would go broke if i only bought the $15-$20 per pound good stuff to keep up with our grated cheese consumption.

When I add the cheese, that is when i turn on the water for the pasta. About 20 minutes total time on my stove to boil the salted water and cook the pasta to a firm Al Dente. This allows the pesto cream sauce to thicken a bit, it's not soup after all. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Serve with fresh crusty bread or your favorite garlic bread.

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