Broccoli is my go-to staple whenever any of us are sick. It’s a powerhouse of vitamin C and stacked with other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and phyto-nutrients.
We’ve all been horribly sick over the past few days and now that our stomachs are able to handle any food I wanted to pack as many bug-fighting nutrients as I could into one dish to help us continue on the path to recovery.
Not only has this pasta got hidden broccoli, but it has also got some sneaky spinach in there too which is a great source of iron and loaded with antioxidants.
This recipe was inspired by my gorgeous friend Mia, who has the most beautiful little 6-month-old girl. She and her partner cooked up some of my broccoli puree with spinach and mint for their little cherub and decided to add the rest to some pasta, with little bit of cream, lemon and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (a brilliant idea if you’ve got any leftover puree and need a quick dinner for the adults or older kids).
This chicken pesto pasta with hidden broccoli is a take on that because I’m a sucker for pesto and anything basil-related really. Unless you’re feeding an army (which some of you no doubt feel like you are sometimes) this will make a truckload, but it’s perfect for freezing for easy work lunches or quick dinners on those nights you can’t be bothered cooking.
* 400g broccoli
* 250g chicken breast
* 1 handful baby spinach leaves, washed
* 350g pasta (I used bowties, but any shaped pasta will work fine)
* Juice of one large lemon
* 1 teaspoon garlic
* 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus an extra splash to cook the chicken
* 4-6 tablespoons thickened cream
* 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
* Parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)
1. Chop chicken into small pieces and cook in a frypan with a splash of oil until cooked all the way through.
2. While the chicken is cooking cut the florets off the broccoli and place into a steamer.
3. Steam broccoli for 7 minutes and then add the handful of baby spinach leaves. Cover and cook for another 3 minutes or until spinach and broccoli are soft.
4. When chicken is cooked place in a food processor and whiz until shredded. Alternatively, you can also use two forks to shred the chicken into small pieces. Place shredded chicken into a bowl and set aside.
5. Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender.
6. Place basil, broccoli, spinach, garlic, two teaspoons oil and lemon juice into a food processor and blend until a smooth paste forms.
7. Drain pasta and add to a clean frying pan on low heat.
8. Gently mix though pesto, shredded chicken and cream and stir until heated all the way through.
9. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.
If you liked this recipe don’t forget to check out my other easy and delicious dinner time recipes.
* You can also make this without chicken if you prefer.
* This is great for freezing.
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