Lia’s Pesto, Broccoli, and Mozzarella Pasta (and learning the importance of expiration dates)

18 Jan

It has come to my attention that a recipe I invented and taught a friend has now been circulating from my friend to her sister to her mother — and who knows, maybe it’s already on YouTube!

I hadn’t thought it was that impressive of a recipe, but when it came back to me through my mom that people were enjoying my recipe, I decided — why not post it here?

Lia’s Pesto, Broccoli, and Mozzarella Pasta

By Lia Lehrer

Total prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
Your favorite pasta
Butter or margarine
Broccoli
Pesto sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Optional: fresh mozzarella

Directions:

1. Boil water for pasta in a medium pot. Follow the box’s directions for making pasta. This may be a crazy assumption, but I’m guessing you know how to make pasta.

Boiling pasta

Unless you're a male college sophomore living in a fraternity, chances are you know how to make pasta.

2. While the pasta is pastafying (if I like pasta, am I Pastafarian?), saute broccoli in a small pan. Cut the broccoli into small pieces, because there’s nothing more annoying than taking a bite of a big piece of broccoli and then having to chew ridiculously quickly when the phone inevitably rings. We’re saving lives here.

Sauteing broccoli

They look like little trees!

3. When the pasta is ready, drain (are drain and strain the same words? why would you make two synonyms rhyme?) (also, did you know that you can drain in a strainer, but you should NOT strain in a drainer?) and put it back in the pot.

4. On a low heat, stir in butter or margarine (I like Earth Balance because it makes me feel healthier than I’m actually being). I’m not sure why I do this or if it’s actually necessary, but hey, this is my recipe and I can do what I want.

5. Keep the heat on and stir in some pesto sauce. These are two of the brands I use. Most of the brands (such as the Trader Joe’s brand) are dairy, but if you’re looking for non-dairy, you can buy it at Hungarian Kosher Foods in Skokie. But then again, if you’re not into dairy, this recipe probably isn’t for you.

pesto sauces

Left: Trader Joe's pesto sauce with dairy. Right: Dairy-free Ethnic Delights pesto sauce.

6. This is important. Check your pesto sauce to make sure that it is not expired. Especially if it says “use within three weeks” and you’re pretty sure you got it when you moved into your apartment in January 2011. Theoretically, of course. In this case, you could risk it (what’s the worst that could happen?), but the recipe will be fine without it. I’m showing you this recipe without the pesto sauce so as not to make anyone feel left out if you don’t have pesto at home. For realsies.

pesto's expiration date

"...once opened, keep refrigerated and use within 3 weeks." Mark your calendar or something. No funny business.

7. Stir in some shredded mozzarella until it melts. If you have fresh mozzarella, it’s sometimes nice to throw a few pieces in there for the extra flavor and texture. I didn’t have any fresh mozzarella when making this (but I wish I did!).

pasta with mozzarella

Melt the mozzarella into the pasta. Use your imagination and picture this with pesto sauce.

8. Lastly, stir in your sauteed broccoli. Put it into a bowl. If you’re having my mom over for dinner, add some parsley as a garnish; if you’re not, don’t worry about it, it’s green enough as it is.

broccoli and pasta

Add in broccoli for a flavor explosion.

9. Enjoy!

pasta, ready to serve

Yummy in my tummy! (Keep imagining the pesto.)

 

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4 Responses to “Lia’s Pesto, Broccoli, and Mozzarella Pasta (and learning the importance of expiration dates)”

  1. Norman E January 18, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Brilliant (well deserving of the Bril-LIA-nce moniker): “Cut the broccoli into small pieces, because there’s nothing more annoying than taking a bite of a big piece of broccoli and then having to chew ridiculously quickly when the phone inevitably rings. We’re saving lives here.”

  2. Meggie January 18, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    If you want to make your own pesto, it’s really easy! Just get some fresh basil (or other herb or vegetable– I love blanched broccolini for pesto!), pine nuts, salt, pepper, and freshly grated parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, but it’s really hard to get the real thing in a kosher version). Put them all in a blender on the puree setting, adding olive oil to get the desired consistency. If you prefer a creamy pesto, add whole milk, cream, or a dairy substitute. Just taste as you go and you can’t go wrong!

  3. Lia Lehrer January 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Meggie – what a great idea! I’ll have to try making my own pesto sometime. I wonder if homemade pesto also expires in three weeks…

  4. Miguel January 21, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    I am hoping you bring a sample to work with you. We can be creative and critical while eating your pasta.

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