Hemp “flower pasta” with broccoli and pesto
september 11th, 2014
Considering the relationship broccoli / pasta-) this receipt should better be called “broccoli with pasta and pesto”. Me and my family REALLY LIKE broccoli. For this reason I’m surely not going to be cheap regarding a vegetable that has many antioxidants properties and that because of this should not be lacking from the table of those people who want to prevent cancer. My kids eat this dish by starting with the broccoli chunks instead of the pasta and when all the big chunks are gone they reclaim others, so… why not?? 🙂
Pasta with broccoli is one of those recipes that repeats itself in our house, often on Wednesday evening. In fact on wednesdays dutch children go out of school at 12:30 am instead of 3:15 pm. This means that on wednesday afternoon I have both kids for myself and if the weather is nice we pick up my oldest son and we stay directly outside. This means coming home late and have little time to cook dinner. The equation is simple: KIDS + FUN – TIME = PASTA! 🙂
Yesterday for example, we had lunch at the park and then we went to the library to borrow some books. I took the opportunity to make a good half hour of “buggy-pushing” at a steady pace, making sure I would get some of that everyday workout that we should not miss. Movement is actually very important to prevent cancer, both for healthy and previously ill people. This is especially true in relation to breast cancer and prostate cancer, which are the two types of cancer more correlated to our lifestyle. Now that I’ve started “herstel en balans”, a rehabilitation course for ex-cancer patients, I am really spurred to get fit again. It was about time! Because, apart from carrying 20 kg of child up on three floors of stairs (!!!) I do not exercise since November 2012 (the beginning of my therapy). I can also preach about what we should or should not eat … but movement is equally important. In fact, the more exercise we do, the more we help our body to get rid of waste. Which in other words means: the more we tone up ourselves, the more we can give up to less healthy food :-)). I’m joking of course …. uhm uhm …
This pasta to be honest is actually a bend to the rules if you put it in relation to a truly anti-cancer diet. Pasta (I heard this at Cascina Rosa, in Milan) saves itself if you talk about unhealthy nutrition just because whole hard-wheat flour (durum-tarwe in dutch) has a lower glycemic index than that of wheat (tarwe in dutch). However, if not whole grain, is a food that gives us empty calories, because all the nutrients have been taken away from it. Moreover, although slower than bread, pasta is still transformed in sugar in our blood … so it should be better avoided or should be eaten in small quantities. I still eat it, 1 or 2 times a week, almost always whole grain and preferably made out of hard wheat or spelt (this last one is an ancient grain with a lower glycemic index than that of wheat). I say almost always, because sometimes I indulge myself with white pasta. In this case, I made an exception because I wanted to try these pasta “flowers” that, in addition to stone grounded hard wheat flower, they are also made with hemp flour, recently re-discovered as healthy food because rich in protein, fibers, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
To lower the glycemic index of this pasta I used the following strategy:
1.prepare the pasta with broccoli in a ratio of 1:2, this means muuuuch more broccoli than pasta
2.flavour it with a (very tasty!) basil and spinach pesto, made with walnuts and pine nuts instead of dairy products (the good old parmesan…)
You are probably thinking: but this dish is a bomb! Well, healthy does not always mean dietetic. In fact, one thing I’ve learned recently is that fats – the right ones I mean – have an important role in maintaining our health. In fact, the omega-3 fats contained in nuts and pine nuts, not only help to maintain high the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and to lower the bad one (LDL), but they also lower the glycemic index! In addition, this pesto made with green leafy vegetables is also rich in vitamin C (so important for us Amazons) and, thanks to the presence of raw garlic, has antibiotic and antibacterial properties.
Making use of this pesto has also allowed me to avoid the usual fried garlic flavored oil usually accompanying this dish. Instead I used a good quality cold pressed olive oil, which is rich in polyfenolen.
I mean, clearly being a very caloric dish we should not abuse it, but I think it’s a very good first step towards a more conscious and certainly more healthy diet. In addition, preparing the pesto in advance, this meal becomes not only a healthy alternative but also a fast one, which nowadays is not a secondary aspect…
Ingredients for the pesto:
60g fresh spinach leaf
60g pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic
170ml olive oil, cold pressed
2 pinches of organic gray salt
Ingredients for the pasta:
500g of pasta “fiori” (pasta made of durum wheat semolina and hemp seeds flour 8%)
125 g of basil and spinach pesto
2 large broccoli (about 1 kg)
Procedure for the pesto (I used 125 g):
.wash and dry the basil and spinach leaves
.place them in a mixer (Thermomix in my case) with the garlic, walnuts, pine nuts, and operate until the mix is more or less homogeneous
.add the olive oil and season with salt
.operate again for few seconds until you get a smooth cream
Procedure for cooking the pasta:
.remove the broccoli from their trunk and rinse under running water
.make up to boil a large (and when I say big I mean REALLY BIG!) pot of water
.when the water boils, pour a handful of organic gray coarse sea salt and just after the broccoli
.then add 4 tablespoons of hot water (from the pan) into the pesto in order to thin it down
.after 5 minutes, add the pasta *
.after 4 minutes drain pasta and broccoli together
.pour them back in the BIG 🙂 pot and stir vigorously so that it creates a sort of cream
.decorate with a few basil leaves, optional 🙂
* these “hemp flowers” pasta have a cooking time of 4 minutes; if the pasta should be cooked for 8-10 minutes, you can pour pasta and broccoli together into the boiling water.
To store the remaining pesto, put it in a jar making sure that no air remain inside. To make sure I shake it a little and slam him delicately two or three times on the table. Then I make sure the surface is covered with oil. I keep it in the refrigerator (for up to one week, better 3-4 days). I use it not only for pasta but to flavor vegetables or even to make sandwiches, such as those that I had prepared for my children as take away midday lunch. In this way, I killed two birds with one stone :-).