Broccoli + Walnut Pesto Big Bowl

June 25, 2011

Any culinary bone I have in my body, I inherited from my mother.

Homemade bread, yougurt from scratch, elaborate birthday cakes, even intricate gingerbread boxes to wrap our Christmas gifts in came popping out of the kitchen of my childhood. But perhaps most importantly, she made the most wonderful, simple meals for us to enjoy as a family for dinner.

One of my favorites was something that she pulled from an old edition of Joy of Cooking, and made her own – a pasta primavera recipe. It was, and is, my favorite of her dishes. Her version consisted of fresh cherry tomatoes, simmered in garlic and broth until they bursh, broccoli steamed with the juices of the tomatoes and then served over pasta with fresh parmesan cheese. Perfect.

So, when I found all of the above in my pantry a few Sundays back, a new twist on an old favorite was a given. Toasted fregola is a Sardinian pasta shape, usually made with semolina flour and similar in shape to Israeli couscous. This recipe is a perfect example of the “big bowl” meals that are a standard in our house – grains, protein, and vegetables all tossed into one simple bowl that can be eaten casually over a game of cards, or dressed up to enjoy with wine and candles. We enjoyed it with the former.

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