Broccoli Rabe Pesto from The Mediterranean Family Table

Broccoli rabe is one of those vegetables that people tend to either love and hate. To the haters, we say it’s probably because you haven’t tried Dr. Angelo Acquista’s preparation of it yet. This recipe from The Mediterranean Family Table is delicious and flavorful with fresh greens, garlic, and a hint of spice.

The Mediterranean Family Table combines Dr. Acquista’s medical experience and Sicilian roots to outline the guiding principles of the Mediterranean diet and takes it one step further with a collection of easy, wholesome, and delicious recipes the entire family will love. Purchase a copy from your favorite retailer today.

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli RabeMy favorite way to serve this pesto sauce is mixed into spaghetti, topped with a drizzle of olive oil, some of the sautéed broccoli rabe florets, and a sprinkle of Parmigiano.

Serves 4 (enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta)

  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe
  • 1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano cheese
  1. Wash and trim the broccoli rabe, reserving the top 2 to 3 inches of the florets.Set aside. Roughly chop the remaining upper stems and leaves.
  2. Bring a pot filled with about 1 quart of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and the broccoli rabe stems and leaves. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the broccoli rabe stems and leaves. Place them, along with ½ cup of the reserved cooking water, in a blender.
  4. Put 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add half of the sliced garlic, the red pepper flakes, and the anchovies. Cook until the garlic is golden and the anchovies have melted into the oil.
  5. Add the oil mixture and the broccoli rabe stems and leaves to the blender, along with the cheese and 4 tablespoons of the oil. Blend well until the mixture liquefies into a sauce, adding more of the reserved cooking water from the broccoli rabe if necessary, until you reach the consistency of a pureed tomato sauce. Pour it into a large serving bowl.
  6. In the same pan that contained the garlic and anchovies, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and sauté the remaining sliced garlic.
  7. When the garlic turns golden, add the broccoli rabe florets and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. The wet-washed broccoli rabe should already have enough water; if not, add 2 tablespoons of water and cook for 3 minutes on low to medium heat, tossing occasionally. Top the pasta with the broccoli rabe florets before serving.

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