Pesto Brown Rice Pasta with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Peas and Roast Cavolo Nero

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This is a dish that I tend to make quite a lot and I thought it would go down well when I filmed with Laura Fantacci and Petro Stofberg.  It uses zingy fresh flavours and depending on what you have in the fridge I like to keep to green colours which I think makes it all the more appetising.  Spinach, green beans and kale are also good here but I love cavolo nero and when roasted it has a great crunch.  I have used brown rice pasta because Laura is gluten-free but its nice because it keeps the dish even lighter.  Its perfect for the midweek meal or packed in your lunchbox!


Serves a greedy 2 


200g brown rice pasta

200g cavolo nero

230g purple sprouting broccoli

150g frozen petits pois

Juice half a lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

For the almond pesto

100g fresh basil, trim off just the very ends of the stalks leaving the majority on with the leaves

100g almonds

150ml extra virgin olive oil

Zest if 2 lemons and the juice of half

Pinch of unrefined caster sugar

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 level tsp garlic, mashed into a paste

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line a baking tray with baking parchment.  Tear the cavolo nero leaves away from the thick stems and add these to the tray.  Drizzle over the olive oil, salt and pepper and place into the hot oven for 4 minutes until the leaves have crisped up and darkened a little.  Squeeze over with some lemon juice and put to one side while you finish the dish.

In a blender add all the ingredients for the pesto except leave out a handful of the almonds and blend together.  Then add the remaining nuts and pulse blend twice just to break them up.  Taste to check the seasoning adding more lemon juice, salt or pepper and place to one side.  This will keep for 4 days in the fridge.

Put a full kettle on to boil and when ready, set a large saucepan to boil and salt the water.  Trim the ends of the broccoli and when the water is bubbling add the veg to the pot for 3 minutes and then the frozen peas for 1 minute.  Drain the greens and fill up the same saucepan with the second half of the kettle water.  Bring to the boil again and when bubbling add in the brown rice pasta.  Cook to packet’s instructions and drain when al dente.  Run the hot water tap and once hot wash over the pasta to remove the starch and tip the pasta into a serving bowl.  Toss pesto through the pasta, then add the peas, broccoli and serve with the cavolo nero on top!  Che Buono!

Check out the FAST FOOD video where I made this for Wardrobe Icons, Laura Fantacci & Petro Stofberg and interviewed them about their fantastic fashion site.

Nina ParkerComment