Popeye’s Best: Linguini with Broccoli, Roasted Garlic and Spinach Pesto

I love my job. Love it! I get to work in the most fabulous places and meet incredible people.
And today was no exception – lucky me I had a dream client…The Andaz Hotel on 5th Ave in Midtown Manhattan.

The extremely talented chef, Vincent Muraco, cooks exactly how I like to cook, and uses only the best locally sourced ingredients. This is a true New York love story.
Lox from Russ and Daughters, Ice Cream from Il Laboratorio Bread from Sullivan Street Bakery, Cheese from Murray’s Cheese, the list goes on.
Whatever he cannot source, he makes himself.
If you ever find yourself in Midtown and in need of a really good lunch or dinner, please head over to The Andaz Hotel. You won’t be sorry!

Today’s recipe (from my shoot) is a linguini with broccoli and spinach pesto. Chef Vincent uses wholewheat pasta which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea, but in this dish it is superb. Its nutty, gritty texture and flavour is wonderful when paired with the broccoli, roasted garlic and pesto. And the best thing about this dish is its colour….green from top to toe. Popeye would approve

Ingredients:
1lb / 500 grams of Linguini
A head of garlic
2 cups of blanched broccoli florets
For the Pesto:
2 lb / 1kg of baby spinach
2 cups pine nuts
1 cup Romano Cheese
4 cloves of garlic
3 cups olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C.
Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Place in a piece of foil and drizzle olive oil inside the head of garlic until it is completely filled and just starting to run down the side.
Wrap tightly with foil and place on a cookie sheet or baking tray and bake until tender and fragrant, roughly 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel outside off of bulb of garlic, then gently squeeze each clove out.
In the meantime, cook the whole wheat linguini according to the instructions on the package.
To blanch the brocolli, heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a separate large bowl, fill with half ice and water.
Once water on the stove has boiled, carefully add in the brocolli and cook for 1 to 1.5 minutes, only until they’re slightly cooked through and tender.
Scoop out the brocolli quickly and immediately move to the ice bath, keeping them there just until they’ve cooled, about 20 to 30 seconds. Remove vegetables, drain in a colander, and set aside until ready to use.

Make the spinach pesto by combining spinach, pine nuts, romano cheese and garlic cloves in a food processor.
Pulse until combined.
While blender is on, add olive oil in a steady stream until smooth.
Season with salt & pepper.

In a saute pan add 1 tbsp oil, the blanched broccoli florets and roasted garlic and saute together for a few minutes.
Add cooked pasta, and warm through.
Take off the heat and add 6 oz / 200g of spinach pesto
Toss together, and grate fresh romano cheese on top.

Serve with a lovely cold glass of white wine. And maybe a little Olive Oyl :-)

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