Recipe: Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Classic pesto sauce originated from Genoa, Italy. It consists of a blend of basil, garlic, olive oil, grated hard cheese, and pine nuts. Everyone has their own way of making pesto but it’s generally the same ratio of ingredients.

In the restaurant, I usually make double the following ratios (in the parentheses):

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (1)
  • Walnuts, toasted (½)
  • Pine nuts, toasted (½)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1)
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (¼)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 boquerones (Spanish white anchovies)
  • 2 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1 lemon, microplaned
  • Salt

For the broccoli rabe, wash it well if dirty. Cut off the thick fibrous ends of the vegetable. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch for 30 seconds and shock in iced water.

Once cool and drained from water, wring the broccoli rabe in a towel or rag to release as much water as possible. On a kitchen scale, measure the weight of the broccoli rabe. It’ll be easier to blend in the food processor if you chop the broccoli rabe first, just a few chops.

In the bowl of the food processor, place the broccoli rabe in first, then the walnuts and pine nuts. Turn the food processor on and add in the EVOO in a steady stream to emulsify the sauce. Add in the freshly grated parmesan, red pepper flakes, boquerones, and microplane the 2 cloves of garlic into the pesto. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt if necessary. Lastly, microplane lemon zest into the pesto and pulse a little more. Add more EVOO to desired consistency.

You can freeze the pesto if you aren’t going to use all of it within a few days because it will oxidize – taste the same but just look ugly.

Sample dishes:

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