Sides

Sauteed Broccolini with Pesto, Pine Nuts & Chilli

January 1, 2020 by Emily

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Sauteed broccolini (tenderstem broccoli) tossed with garlic, homemade pesto, crunchy pine nuts, and chilli. This is a veggie side dish that goes with anything from roast meats to fish or simply eaten as it is as a light lunch. It’s so simple yet full of flavour!

An overhead shot of sauteed broccolini in a serving bowl with pine nuts on top

Ok, I’m not over exaggerating when I say that this is the BEST sauteed broccolini I have ever tasted.

When it comes to veggie sides it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut with the same old stuff, right?

Not anymore, this broccolini recipe is jam-packed with delicious flavour and it couldn’t be easier to make.

It still has a little crunch and is tossed in one of the most delicious sauces of all time, homemade basil pesto.

And I know I’ve said this a million times but I’m sorry, I’m gonna say it again….do not buy store-bought pesto because it just ain’t pesto, it tastes nothing like the stuff.

Homemade, on the other hand, is heaven on earth, I mean it’s addictive and it’s so easy to make (like 2 minutes).

So add an extra 2 minutes to your prep time and this sauteed broccolini will be your new favourite side!

Broccolini Vs Broccoli

Broccolini (aka tenderstem broccoli) is very similar to broccoli in both look and taste although they’re not actually related (weird, right?)

It has much smaller florets and long stems with small leaves. It’s pretty common to find in supermarkets these days and is known as a super-food (another reason why this recipe is so good).

If you can’t find it you can use broccoli instead just make sure to cut it into small florets and any thick stalks will take longer to cook so saute it for a few minutes longer.

Preparation

You can eat all parts of broccolini but I prefer to trim off the leaves, if any.

If there are a few stems of broccolini joined together then simply cut them apart into singular stems and trim off any extra thick ends.

That’s’ it, give it a quick rinse in cold water and you’re ready to start cooking with it.

The First Cooking Step

Ok, so you need to parboil the broccolini first but don’t worry it’s quick and easy!

Parboiling vegetables helps speed up the cooking time and is then followed by another cooking method such as roasting, frying or grilling.

It’s an important step for making this sauteed broccolini. If you went straight ahead and added the broccolini to the skillet the stalks would be undercooked and the tops would burn (as well as the garlic and chilli) before it was completely cooked through and tender enough to eat.

Alternative Cooking Method

You can also add water to the skillet (frying pan) instead of parboiling first. This will steam the vegetables allowing them to soften before sauteing.

If you prefer to use that method then I recommend using around 1/4 cup (60ml) of water.

Make sure to cover the skillet as it steams and cook it for an extra 2-3 minutes.

How To Make Sauteed Broccoli – Step By Step

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and parboil the broccolini for 5 minutes, drain (photo 1).

Heat olive oil in a large pan (big enough to add the broccolini without it being overcrowded) and add chopped garlic and fresh chilli. Saute for 30 seconds then add the broccolini with a sprinkling of salt to season (photo 2-3).

Step by step photos for making sauteed broccolini

Saute the broccolini, stirring every now and then until cooked through  (up to 10 minutes). Once cooked add the pesto and toss, serve on a platter topped with pine nuts (photo 4).

How to Test the Sauteed Broccolini is Done

The cooking time depends on how much you have in the pan and how crowded it is. If the pan is overcrowded the broccolini won’t cook evenly so make sure you have a pan large enough.

This recipe takes around 10 minutes to saute but to check that the broccolini is done try inserting a sharp knife into the thickest part of the stock. If it goes in easily the broccolini is done. Alternatively simply cut a piece and taste it to make sure it’s to your liking, it should still have a bite to it.

What to Serve with it

Sauteed broccolini is the perfect side dish to almost anything from a juicy chargrilled steak, breaded chicken, veal cutlets and fish.

I also love to add in some fresh arugula (rocket) and extra veggies and eat it as a light lunch. There’s so much flavour you don’t need much else.

A close up of sauteed broccolini in a bowl

Top Tips for Making Sauteed Broccolini with Pesto, Pine Nuts & Chilli

  • Parboil the broccolini first to speed up the cooking time.
  • Season the broccolini after parboiling with a little salt but remember the pesto will also add seasoning so you’ll just need a little.
  • Use homemade pesto instead of store-bought, it takes 2 minutes and makes a huge difference to the flavour.
  • No pine nuts? You could also use walnuts, hazelnuts or cashews.
  • Feel free to omit the chilli if serving to children or reduce it to your liking.
  • If you don’t have fresh chilli then add a small amount of red pepper flakes either to the pesto or sprinkle on top.
  • Watch the video or see the step by step photos for extra help on making this recipe.

More Delicious Recipes Using Broccolini or Broccoli;

If you’ve tried this Sauteed Broccolini or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

Step By Step Photos AboveMost of our recipes come with step by step photos, helpful tips and tricks to make it perfectly first time and even video!
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5 from 10 votes

Sauteed Broccolini with Pesto, Pine Nuts and Chilli

Tender sauteed broccolini tossed with homemade pesto, crunchy pine nuts, and fiery chilli. This is a side dish that goes with anything from roast meats to fish or simply eaten as it is as a light lunch. It's so simple yet full of flavour!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 90kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 12.5 oz broccolini (tenderstem broccoli) (360g)
  • 2 heaped tbsp homemade pesto
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/2 fresh chilli finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and parboil the broccolini for 5 minutes, drain.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan (big enough to add the broccolini without it being over crowded) and add chopped garlic and fresh chilli. Saute for 30 seconds then add the broccolini with a sprinkling of salt to season.
  • Saute the broccolini, stirring every now and then until cooked through and slightly golden (up to 10 minutes). Once cooked add the pesto and toss, serve on a platter topped with pine nuts.

Notes

How to Test the Broccolini is Done

The cooking time depends on how much you have in the pan and how crowded it is. If the pan is overcrowded the broccolini won't cook evenly so make sure you have a pan large enough.
This recipe takes around 10 minutes to saute but to check that the broccolini is done try inserting a sharp knife into the thickest part of the stock, If it goes in easily it's done. Alternatively simply cut a piece and taste it to make sure it's to your liking, it should still have a bite to it.

Top Tips for Making Sauteed Broccolini with Pesto, Pine Nuts & Chilli

  • Parboil the broccolini first to speed up the cooking time.
  • Season the broccolini after parboiling with a little salt but remember the pesto will also add seasoning so you'll just need a little.
  • Use homemade pesto instead of store-bought, it takes 2 minutes and makes a huge difference to the flavour.
  • No pine nuts? You could also use walnuts, hazelnuts or cashews.
  • Feel free to omit the chilli if serving to children or reduce it to your liking.
  • If you don't have fresh chilli then add a small amount of red pepper flakes either to the pesto or sprinkle on top.
  • Watch the video or see the step by step photos for extra help on making this recipe.
  • This recipe serves 4 as a side or 2 as a light lunch

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1617IU | Vitamin C: 90mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Erika
    January 1, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    This is the best broccolini, yum!!5 stars

  • Reply
    Monique
    January 1, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Broccolini is one of my favorite veggies! I love that the recipe is simple, but I can tell it’s full of flavor with the pesto!5 stars

  • Reply
    Jenn
    January 1, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    I think I’ve died and gone to veggie heaven! I love love broccolini, and can’t wait to try this recipe! Yum!5 stars

  • Reply
    Anita
    January 1, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    We love this! Such an easy and fun way to prepare broccolini. 🙂5 stars

  • Reply
    Jacqueline Meldrum
    January 1, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Fabulous flavours. I could eat that whole serving plateful myself with no sharing!

    ps we call broccolini tenderstem broccoli here in the UK. We fun fact.

    Happy New Year
    Jac
    x5 stars

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      January 1, 2020 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks so much and Happy New Year to you too!

      I’m actually from the UK (Scotland) but so used to calling it broccolini. There are so many names for it!

  • Reply
    Tisha
    November 26, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Great idea for a side dish! Especially love the added flavor of the chillis!5 stars

  • Reply
    Matt @ Plating Pixels
    November 26, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Broccolini is one of my favorite veggies and often roast or grill it. Will give this a try and excited about the flavor combos!5 stars

  • Reply
    Jacque Hastert
    November 26, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I don’t know if I can ever eat broccolini any other way now. This founds fantastic!5 stars

  • Reply
    Tayler Ross
    November 26, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Oh wow, this broccolini looks so full of flavor! I can’t wait to try it this week!5 stars

  • Reply
    Jenna
    November 26, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    I’ve been digging broccolini in pasta when I’m out to eat. Now I’m going to try it at home! Thanks!5 stars

  • Leave a Reply

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