Herby Tahini Pasta with Broccoli & Walnuts

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by Tori Pintar - Inspired by a recipe from Hetty McKinnon’s new book Family)

This pasta is filling, nourishing, and has a lightness that warmer temperatures and longer days have me craving and it’s creaminess comes from - tahini. That also means it’s dairy free but I don’t think your cheese loving friends will mind or notice because this recipe is delish. It comes together quickly too so you can spend those last rays of sun with a glass of wine or out on a walk. Happy cooking!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Sauce (Makes about 1 3⁄4 cup)

  • 2 cups loosely packed herbs (I used cilantro, cilantro stems, basil, and parsley)

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1⁄2 cup tahini

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

  • Splash of vinegar, (white, rice, or apple cider are good choices here)

  • Splash of honey or maple syrup (optional)

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions, adding broccoli for the final 2-3 minutes of cooking. I like my pasta fairly al dente so I added the florets at 7 minutes and cooked for 2 additional minutes. You’ll know your broccoli is approaching done when it turns a vibrant shade of green. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, make your tahini sauce. Add herbs, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) to a food processor. Pulse until chopped. Add the tahini, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until a paste forms.

  3. With your food processor on, slowly stream in 1⁄2 cup of ice water until a creamy sauce forms, adding more ice water as needed. You want a slightly thicker sauce than you imagine here, so be careful adding too much water, as it will be thinned down with pasta water later. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Depending on your herb choice and their freshness, plus the quality of your tahini, you might need to add some vinegar or sweetener to brighten and balance your flavors. Cheaper tahini can have a bitterness that a little bit of honey easily resolves.

  4. Add 1 cup of the sauce to the pasta and broccoli with a few big splashes of the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine. I didn’t add all the sauce but feel free to get saucier and/or add more pasta water in small increments until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Serve immediately topped with walnuts, freshly cracked pepper, a few chopped herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and a big squeeze of lemon juice.

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