Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pasta with broccoli rabe and sundried tomato pesto

Broccoli Rabe with its mild distinct bitterness dominates almost anything that you cook it with. I really like the bitterness of the rabe and paired with sweet and tangy sun-dried tomatoes it makes a great pesto for pasta. The bold sauce combines wonderfully with the nuttiness of whole wheat pasta and the addition of pine nuts adds richness to the dish.

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sun dried tomato pesto
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
½ lb Broccoli Rabe
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (without oil)
6 cloves of garlic
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup + 1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

For the pesto
1.      Separate the Broccoli Rabe leaves from the thick stem and leave the floret on top intact. You should get about 4 cups of leaves.
2.      Cook the leaves in a large pot of salted water for 5 minutes till tender. Drain well and place in the food processor.
3.      Soak the sundried tomatoes in boiling hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and add to the cooked Broccoli rabe leaves in the food processor as well.
4.      Add 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped. Add ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse till the leaves and tomatoes have combined. With the motor running, slowly add ¼ cup olive oil to bind all the ingredients together to form a paste. The tomatoes need not be completely pureed.

For the pasta

1.      Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti to it and give it a little swish to prevent the strands from sticking. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes as per the instructions on the box. Drain to add to the sauce.
2.      In the meantime heat a large sauté pan with 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and add 4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced and the tops of the broccoli rabe. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat till the garlic is soft and light brown. Add the drained spaghetti and the broccoli rabe pesto and mix well.
3.      Sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves 3 to 4


  1. we love broccoli rabe I keep buying it almost every week.
    Your recipe looks fantastic and simple to prepare.
    Have you tried orecchiette pasta? I think it has a fun/chewey texture nad it also matches well with rabe :)
    Thanks for visiting Weirdcombos

    1. I have tried rabe with orecchiette, but with sausage as well - the traditional combination.