Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Total Time:
32 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
12 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough lower stems removed
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
  • 3/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 pound orecchiette pasta
  • High-quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing (optional)
Directions
  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes and then immediately plunge in the salted ice water. This will prevent the broccoli rabe from being overcooked and will set the lovely green color.

  • Drain the broccoli rabe and squeeze out any excess water; coarsely chop. Place the broccoli rabe in the bowl of a food processor and puree until it is a coarse paste. Add the pistachios and parmigiano and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning; you probably will need more salt. Add the ricotta and pulse until combined. Taste for seasoning once again-it should be full-flavored, slightly bitter and creamy at the same time. Set aside.

  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. (If you are making the pasta right after the pesto, just use the broccoli rabe blanching water.) Cook the pasta 1 minute less than the cooking time on the package.

  • While the pasta is cooking, place the pesto in a large skillet and add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water; place over medium-high heat. When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the skillet with the pesto. Stir vigorously to combine and cook until the sauce is creamy and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes; add salt to taste. Remove from the heat, add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, if desired, and stir vigorously. Garnish with more parmigiano. Voila!

  • Per serving: Calories 420; Fat 13.5 g (Sat. 4.4 g; Mono. 5.5 g; Poly. 2.7 g); Cholesterol 18 mg; Sodium 286 mg; Carbohydrate 54 g; Fiber 3.5 g; Protein 22 g

  • Photograph by Con Poulos


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