Mac & Cheese With Broccoli Pesto

Mac & cheese on its own is perfection. But start adding other delicious ingredients and you have a whole new kind of comfort food. This recipe introduces broccoli pesto to the mix, along with some ricotta, for a dinner the whole family will love.

1 pound Past, rigatoni or penne
Kosher salt, to taste
1 pound Broccoli florets
1 Large garlic clove, peeled
2 Lemons, zested
1 Bunch of basil, leaves only
1/2 cup Grated parmesan
1/2 cup Toasted walnuts or almonds
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
Ricotta cheese
Red pepper flakes, optional

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season well with salt. Add the broccoli florets and blanch for 3-4 minutes, then immediately place in a bowl filled with ice water. Once cool, remove and place on a kitchen towel.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water.

Place the broccoli, garlic, lemon zest, parm and nuts into the carafe of a blender and season with salt. Add half of the reserved pasta water and blend for about 1 minute. Add in the basil, turn on the blender and stream in the olive oil. When smooth, taste for seasoning.

Heat a skillet over low heat and add the pesto sauce with a little of the remaining pasta water if necessary to thin the mixture. Add the pasta and toss to coat.

Plate the pasta and garnish with a dollop of ricotta. Season with a little coarse salt and some red pepper flake if you wish.