Recipe: Orecchiette with Brown Butter, Broccoli, Pine Nuts, and Basil

by Cate on April 2, 2013

The week before we left for vacation, I was quite practical and made sure to use up as much food as I could from our refrigerator.

Waste drives me crazy, and I didn’t want anything going bad in our absence.

Although it made for a few boring, ok and weird, meals, it was a good plan.

Until we came home.

Because said refrigerator was, of course, pretty bare. And since it was Easter Sunday and a busy day, there was no time for a grocery store run.

And this is where a well-stocked pantry and freezer can save your hide.

Along with a recipe like this one.

Although I didn’t have every single ingredient, I did have the lion’s share. Broccoli from the freezer. Pasta in the pantry. Olive oil, butter, lemon juice, and pine nuts all on hand already.

It came together in nothing flat, which means it’s the perfect meal for when your weeknights are a little hectic.

And if you’re like us, that means currently juggling homework, track practice, Scout meetings, and soccer.

Sometimes all on the same night.

While the inclination might be to find the nearest drive-thru, this recipe will save you from that.

So thank you, Curtis Stone and broccoli from the freezer. I think I love you.

PS If you’re looking for more easy recipes from Curtis Stone, he has a new cookbook coming out next week, What’s for Dinner? Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life.

Orecchiette with Brown Butter, Broccoli, Pine Nuts, and Basil
Recipe courtesy of Curtis Stone and People magazine


6 cups broccoli, cut into bite-size florets with 1-inch stems
1 lb orecchiette (or penne)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
kosher salt and pepper
extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted walter for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop broccoli out of the water. Set aside. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cooking for 8-10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and stir for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for 1 minute. Gently stir in pasta, basil, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and stir in enough pasta water to create a light sauce. Drizzle each serving with olive oil.

Serves 4.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne April 3, 2013 at 6:41 am

Brown butter and broccoli to the rescue! Two of my favorites in one pasta :)
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Spicy Adzuki Beans with Kimchi, Asparagus, and Stir-Fried Tempeh


debbie April 3, 2013 at 6:56 am

Looks delicious!!!!
debbie recently posted..Sauteed Kale with Butternut Squash and Rice


patsy April 3, 2013 at 8:44 am

We are just getting back into baseball (with both boys playing, that’s 2 teams with games and practices)… along with scouts and other commitments, so I love recipes like this! I avoid the drive-thru at all costs these days because it just doesn’t make us feel good after eating there. I’ll have to check out that new cookbook… sounds like my kind of cooking!
patsy recently posted..Healthy Lunchbox {recipe: Almond-Dill Chicken Salad}


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