Broccoli and basil pesto with capers, red chilli & anchovies pasta

Some of my most creative creations come from – clearing out the fridge! When there’s not much in it, and I’m forced to get the best out of what we’ve got. On this occasion, I came up with a delicious pesto of basil and pine nuts with capers, red chilli and anchovies! You’ll notice there’s no cheese in this pesto – we certainly didn’t miss it. The sauce was tossed with steamed broccoli and pasta. I think it would have worked really well with braised kale or cavolo nero, too.

It was loosely inspired by Italian anchovy and caper combination, and by our great love of pesto!


This is a pretty flexible recipe, and I’m giving he quantities more as guidelines than gospel! If you like it nuttier and creamier, add more pine nuts. If you want it herbier, more basil. The consistency will depend on how much olive oil you put in, etc. You can also omit the chilli if you wish, but I like the little extra kick.

This sauce takes no time to make, and it’s a fantastic weekly dinner. WHB 4 years.jpg

This week I’m hosting WHB, and this is my entry: broccoli and basil pesto with capers and anchovies pasta!




.This is the photo from the current header, btw:



broccoli and basil pesto with capers

 and anchovies pasta!


SOURCE:  Own recipe

PREPARATION TIME: about 5 – 10 min

COOKING TIME: 10 – 15 min (depending on pasta)

CUISINE: Italian-inspired




For the pesto:

A good handful of basil

a pinch of coarse sea salt

2 – 3 tbsp pine nuts

1 small garlic clove (optional)

1 small red chilli

1 tbsp capers

1 – 2 anchovies

extra virgin olive oil

For the pasta:

1/2 head of large broccoli (or more if you really like broccoli!)

enough pasta for two



1. Boil a large pot of water and add pasta. I put a Chinese steamer on top of the same pot and the broccoli in it, but you can cook the broccoli as you prefer – in another pot, in the microwave, etc.

2. While the pasta and the broccoli is cooking, I make my pesto. Toast the pine nuts in a medium hot pan until they start getting a little oily and golden, tossing them in the pan, or stirring. Watch them, they burn easily. When they’re done, take them out of the pan and put them in a bowl. This is important, they’ll burn if you leave them in the pan while you get a start with the basil.

3. Put the salt and the basil in your pestle and mortar if you’re using one (the coarse salt helps crush the basil, but it’s not essential, of course). Make a paste out of the basil, and then add the other ingredients, one by one. Add the capers and the anchovies towards the end, so you can adjust quantities, and add more if you wish. Olive oil comes last – add as much as you want to achieve a desired consistency.

4. Toss the pasta with the pesto, and then mix in the broccoli. Enjoy!

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  1. Yum! If I find any fresh basil I will make it! I have never tried anchovies and capers in pesto, so it will be a new one for me!


  2. Mouse

     /  17 January, 2010

    Um…anchovies are fish, I’m afraid. But without them, it looks like a veggie treat. 🙂
    And traditional pesto doesn’t have cheese anyway. The addition of pecorino romano is a new addition. Not an improvement as far as I’m concerned! So your recipe is more authentic really.


  3. TASTEOFBEIRUT – it works really well, do try it.

    MOUSE – ouuuuch how embarrassssssiiiing!!!! I completely forgot about them – though they’re in the title – erm…. Sorrryyyy and thanks for telling me – I corrected this immediately.
    Hey, I had no idea the traditional pesto had no cheese in it. Interesting!
    You could try hard goat’s cheese in pesto. That would work a treat.


  4. Sounds really good. I love any type of pesto and pasta


  5. Hi Beth, nice to see you here again! Hope all is well with you. Do try this, it’s a lovely pesto!


  6. We’ve just recently re-discovered the wonders of anchovy with broccoli. Isn’t it wonderful? It seems to liven it up.


  7. They definitely do! I love them, too.


  8. This sounds really good..always looking out for pasta and broccoli dishes!


  9. Thanks S! Glad you like it. And welcome to my blog!


  1. Hunter Green Monday

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