Broccoli Rabe & Pistachio Pesto

rabe pesto4

When most people think of pesto, they think of the Genovese version, with basil, pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese.

Pesto comes from the Italian word pestare, which means "to pound" or "crush".

Made with a mortar and pestle pounding fresh herbs, pesto is a delicious sauce, and I love having it on hand for sandwiches, salad dressings or pastas. It freezes well too.

This version from Food & Wine magazine uses broccoli rabe and pistachio nuts and was fantastic. It made enough for crostini appetizers and a pasta dish for another night's dinner.

Broccoli Rabe is a common vegetable found in Southern Italian cooking and has a wonderful nutty flavor if cooked right. It tastes nothing like broccoli, and is referred to as rapini in most parts.

It is a cruciferous vegetable, part of the mustard family and packed with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.

It can also be bitter and ugly if it's past its prime.

If you see the tops of the flowers are getting yellow, skip it. The bunches should be bright green and tight and the leaves should be firm and crisp.

Broccoli Rabe Pesto with Pistachios: (adapted from Food & Wine)

1 cup raw, shelled pistachios toasted (be careful not to burn)
1 pound broccoli rabe, thick stems discarded
2 garlic cloves
2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2-3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
kosher salt & pepper

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Squeeze dry, then transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

In a food processor, pulse the pistachios with the garlic until coarsely chopped. Add the parsley and broccoli rabe and pulse until finely chopped.

Add the olive oil (I only used 1/2 cup) and process until incorporated. Stir in the Pecorino, season with salt and pepper and serve.


Ciao Chow Linda said…
Ooh I love this idea for a pesto - definitely making this with some of the wild mustard greens (like broccoli rape) we picked and froze earlier this spring.
The JR said…
Looks delicious. I think I saw broccoli rabe seeds, I'll have to get some!
Look at that color! I love stepping out of the norm for pesto.
Tryiing this for sure, I have a full bag of pistachios from TJ's in my freezer.
Michele said…
I saw this recipe and now that I know you tested I'm going to have to give it a try. I love broccoli rabe and love pistachio nuts. Never would have paired them on my own. Can you actually taste the pistachio nuts or does it get overpowered by the broccoli rabe?
Jen_from_NJ said…
I do love my broccoli rabe! I will definitely be trying out this pesto.
Foodiewife said…
Another Al Fresco TGIF tapas for us, Stacey. Now, if only the weather would warm up. California is overcast and cold. I'm so over it!
Lori Lynn said…
The color is fabulous! Great combination of ingredients!