Broccoli Rabe & Pistachio Pesto
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.