Pesto Tortellini with Broccoli

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We are reaching the end of summer. There, I said it. Back to school stuff has been in the stores for a few weeks now, teacher training began this week (sigh) and the slow days of summer are all but lost. 

This is such a bittersweet time for me. I love the beginning of fall; the smell of fresh crisp air, the beautifully changing trees, and the delicious fall flavors are all incredible. Nevertheless, I am still not ready to give up the warmth and freedom of summertime. The fresh flavors, the lazy summer days, and the general relaxed atmosphere just can’t be beat.

To honor these last few days of summertime, I decided to make a classic pesto tortellini prepared with fresh basil straight from the garden (or rather basil plant that I grow on my balcony).

Fresh, simple and delicious, this pesto with broccoli screams summertime. I actually served mine over a pesto tortellini from Trader Joe’s, which provided an extra pesto punch, but any tortellini will be great. So go grab your favorite tortellini, a couple generous handfuls of basil, and a fresh bunch of broccoli; you will have the perfect quick dinner to celebrate these last wonderful days of summer. What’s more, this dish tastes delicious the next day as a cold pasta salad; if you have any leftovers, enjoy them for a cold lunch!

What are you plans for these last few days of summer? Let me know below!

Pesto Tortellini with Broccoli

Yield: 2-3 main dish or 6 side dish servings
Time: 20 minutes
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbls. toasted pine nuts – divided
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 9- to 10-ounce package fresh tortellini – I used a pesto flavor from Trader Joe’s, though a simple cheese tortellini would be equally as tasty.
  • 2 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  1. Boil a large pot of salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, mince garlic clove very fine.
  3. Add garlic, basil, cheese, oil, 2 tbls. pine nuts, lemon juice and salt to a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the mixture is fairly smooth; leave the pesto in the blender while you cook the tortellini.
  4. Cook tortellini in the boiling water until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes or according to package directions. Add broccoli at last 2 minutes of cook time.
  5. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta-cooking liquid, then drain the tortellini. 
  6. Slowly add the reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid to the pesto in the food processor, one tablespoon at a time (you might not need all of it); pulse to combine until you reach your desired consistency. 
  7. Transfer the tortellini and broccoli to a large bowl. Toss with the pesto and diced tomato. Serve sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Eating Well 


Jen · August 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Looks delicious Paula! I'm adding it to Ziplist for next week's meal planning. 🙂

    Paula M · August 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks Jen, I hope you enjoy it! I've never heard of Ziplist before, I'll have to check it out : )

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table · August 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I love making pestos with stuffed pastas. I prefer them to tomato sauce! spaghetti is a different story though. 🙂

    Paula M · August 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I agree, spaghetti has some unwritten rule that it is best paired with tomato sauce : )

Holly · August 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

mmmmm I may have to make a version of this now that I won't have to worry about my husband's aversion to broccoli. Though I won't have a food processor.

    Paula M · August 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    You could easily substitute any other veggie that the husband likes, though I am not quite sure I have a solution for the food processor…Hm. Buy one? 😀

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