Penne with Broccoli Pesto

A zero waste recipe

For several years now, “nose to tail” has been a trend in hip restaurants around the world that use not just selected pieces of an animal for their dishes, but all parts – from nose to tail. Then, recently, I first heard the term on TV in connection with vegetables, and I really liked it. Vegetable dishes that use all parts of a plant are usually called “zero waste” recipes. But I think “nose to tail” or maybe better “head to root” is much more charming.

No matter what you call the concept, it definitely describes a good thing. Anyone who has ever grown their own vegetables or at least grown herbs on the windowsill knows how valuable their own harvest is. You don’t want to waste any of it, after all, you grew the plant with a lot of love. This reminds me of a little anecdote from the garden of my Waldorf school. I was probably in 7th grade and, like every week, we had horticultural lessons. We were in a phase of unrestrained energy that often drove our teachers to despair. Someone was always about to commit an outrage. At this very moment, a couple of boys tore some carrots out of the earth that were not yet fully ripe yet. The horticultural teacher, standing further away, had seen the action and now sprinted after the fleeing boys as quickly as his rubber boots let him and shouted with a red head and cracking voice: “You child murderers!!!!”

At the time, we found our teacher’s behavior extremely funny and over the top. But today I get what he was on about. Because the more we relate to our food and the more lovingly we grow it ourselves (or at least choose it in the store), the less we like to throw it away or watch it being willfully destroyed. So we come back to “head to root” or “no waste recipes”. This week I have a particularly delicious dish of this kind for you. It’s a simple pasta dish that uses the whole broccoli, turning the harder stalks into a pesto, while the more tender florets are blanched to give the dish bite and texture. The result is a meal that is delicious from top to bottom and without any waste. Enjoy!

And now my question for you: do you have any tips and tricks on how vegetable scraps can be avoided or reused? I look forward to your comment under this post!


Servings 2 people
Cook Time 30 minutes
Print Recipe


  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
  • 500 g broccoli
  • 100 ml water
  • 30 g basil
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 grated zest of organic lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 250 g penne I used gluten-free


  • food processor


  • Bring a large saucepan with plenty of water for the penne and broccoli florets (they are cooked together) to boil.
  • Roast the pine nuts in a pan without oil. Put the seeds in a bowl. Use the same pan to briefly sear the garlic in a little olive oil.
  • Cut the bokkoli florets into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Divide the broccoli stalk into pieces and puree together with the water in the chopper until creamy. Pour into a bowl. Then puree the fried garlic, 2/3 of the pine nuts (save the rest for garnish), basil, olive oil, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice in the food processor. Mix with the pureed broccoli stalk.
  • Put the penne in the boiling and salted water and cook until al dente. 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and let them cook as well. Drain the penne and broccoli, collecting some of the cooking water.
  • Return the penne and broccoli to the pot and mix with the pesto. Depending on the desired consistency, add some of the cooking water. Fill onto plates and serve garnished with the remaining pine nuts.
Wellcuisine Stefanie Reeb

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