Orecchiette with Almond Pesto

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

Kosher salt

1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds 

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves 

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/3-inch dice 

1 pound orecchiette pasta 

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season well with salt. Add the broccoli rabe to the water and simmer until the stem is just tender when pierced with a knife, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a rimmed baking sheet to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out any extra water with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
  2. Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, 5 or 6 times. Add the basil, oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree until combined and almost smooth. Pour the pesto into a large bowl. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, broccoli rabe and mozzarella and toss well to combine.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season liberally with salt. Add the orecchiette and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a pasta spider, transfer the pasta directly to the bowl with the pesto. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss everything together until evenly coated.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.