Pasta with broccoli, white beans, ricotta, and parsley pesto

Karoline Boehm-Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Serves 4

Choose any small curved or twisted pasta for this, preferably with shallow ridges (cellentani, rotini, gemelli, and others), so the sauce falls into the crevices when it is tossed. Parsley pesto, which can be made ahead (let it sit at room temperature before tossing with the pasta), is a good cold-weather alternative to basil pesto.

PARSLEY PESTO

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1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems
removed
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons walnuts
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons water

1. In a processor, work the parsley, scallions, garlic, walnuts, salt, and pepper until it is finely chopped.

2. With the motor running, blend in the Parmesan, olive oil, and water until it forms a puree.

PASTA

1 can (about 15 ounces) Great Northern or other white beans
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 ounces (2 cups) small curved or twisted pasta
1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size pieces, stems peeled
1 cup skim-milk ricotta

1. Drain the beans.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Just before the pasta is fully cooked, remove 1 cup pasta cooking water. Add the beans to the pasta and cook for 1 minute to heat them through. Drain the pasta and beans and transfer to a large bowl; cover and keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer insert and several inches of boiling water, steam the broccoli in a covered pan for 4 minutes or until it is bright green and tender.

4. Add the broccoli, pesto, and about ½ cup of the cooking water to the pasta and beans. Toss well. Spoon dollops of the ricotta here and there on the mixture. Toss gently. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like, and more pasta cooking water, to thin the mixture if necessary. Jean Kressy