Bryant Terry, an Oakland, Calif., chef with two young daughters, developed this recipe to make eating broccoli a treat. It worked: Blanched and puréed with lemon, garlic and a little of what he calls “umami powder,” the broccoli transforms into a deeply flavorful vegan spread that’s also highly adaptable. Thin it with pasta water and toss it with hot noodles, as seen here, or scrape it into a bowl as a dip for crudités. Spread it onto a thick piece of toast and cover it with sliced radishes, dill and crunchy salt. Use some to drown a softly poached egg, drizzle with olive oil, and eat with a spoon, or to dress warm white beans, then shower them with black pepper and grated cheese. Whatever you do, don’t skip rinsing the broccoli with cold water after you blanch it; the step keeps the spread a vibrant green.
- Serves: 2 persons
- ¾ounce dried porcini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- ¾cup whole raw cashews
- 3tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2tablespoons raw pine nuts
- 1teaspoon fine sea salt
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1medium head broccoli, cut into florets, thick stem reserved for another use
- 8ounces dried pasta, such as spaghetti
- ½cup loosely packed roughly chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
- 1large garlic clove, minced
- ⅓cup umami powder
- ½cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh lemon juice, as needed
Step 1Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Step 2Prepare the umami powder: Grind the porcini in a spice grinder until pulverized, then transfer to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse until the mixture is broken down into a fine meal. Transfer to a jar or lidded container. (Makes about 1 1/4 cups.)
Step 3Prepare the pasta: Season the boiling water with salt, then add the broccoli and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the broccoli, then rinse with cold water and gently pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender.
Step 4While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: In the same food processor (no need to wash it out), combine the cooked broccoli, dill, garlic and 1/3 cup umami powder; process until finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly pour in the oil. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula, and blend again, then season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Step 5Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and drain the cooked pasta. Return the pasta to the pot, and toss with broccoli sauce, thinning with a splash of the reserved pasta water if needed to help coat the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with a sprinkle of umami powder and fresh dill.