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Recipe: Fusilli With Broccoli and Deconstructed Pesto

Fresh pasta with broccoli, pesto and pine nuts, selective focus

This recipe uses the ingredients found in pesto sauce in a fresh, less muddled way. Instead of blending herbs, nuts and cheese into a paste, here they are left in their individual states, so the flavors sing.

Cooking the garlic mellows it, and adding a little chicken broth replaces some of the oil traditionally used to make pesto.

Serves 4.


8 ounces fusilli or other shaped pasta

12 ounces small broccoli florets

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

¾ cup chopped fresh basil

½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Prepare the fusilli according to the package directions for al dente (firm, not mushy). About 2 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the broccoli. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until reduced by half, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat, add the pasta and broccoli, and stir until coated with sauce. Add the basil and parsley and stir to combine.

Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil (if too dry, add a tablespoon or so of reserved cooking liquid). Top with the cheese and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: American Cancer Society

Nutritional Information

per serving

400 calories

170 calories from fat

18 grams total fat

3 grams saturated fat

zero grams trans fat

4 grams polyunsaturated fat

11 grams monounsaturated fat

48 grams carbohydrates

12 grams protein

5 grams dietary fiber

130 milligrams sodium

4 grams sugar

Less than 5 milligrams cholesterol

Cover of spring 2020 issue of Cancer Care magazineThis article is from the spring 2020 issue of Cancer Care magazine.