Well we are breaking the rules here. Thats right this broccoli rabe pesto has NO basil. Why? Well first it doesn’t need it, second I’m tired of buying basil with the intentions of making pesto, and it goes bad the next day. Before you say that you don’t need another pesto recipe, that your traditional basil pesto is all that you need, trust me this is different. This no basil pesto is earthy, slightly bitter (in a good way), bright and citrusy from a splash of lemon, with extremely deep flavor. While my favorite pesto will always be my Spinach Pesto, this broccoli rabe pesto gives it a run for its money.
If you have learned anything from some of my recipes it is to take advantage of eating in-season produce. The produce is more flavorful, fresher, healthier, and it’s just better for the environment. It also gives you an opportunity to eat local, more organic, with less pesticides. Have you ever had farmers market produce? Yes, it is more expensive but trust me the difference is worth it. Broccoli rabe has a long season being at it’s peak and most abundance in Fall, early Winter, as well as early Spring.
Just about anything. Below are some of my favorite avenues for this broccoli rabe pesto. Like traditional pesto, it does not need to be cooked. Let the heat from either pasta, toast, or whatever else you are pairing it with warm the pesto.
Toast the Pine Nuts – In a small dry frying pan over low heat toast your pine nuts until they are golden brown, but not burnt. This should take approx. 5 minutes, under no circumstance should you walk away from the pan. Pine nuts go from golden brown to burnt in a matter of seconds. Once toasted remove and let them cool completely.
Process the Pesto– In a food processor pulse garlic, cooled pine nuts, cheese, and chili flakes. Add broccoli rabe leaves and pulse to combine. On high speed add in the lemon juice and olive oil until thick paste. If you desire a thinner more runny consistency add more olive oil, however if you are opting for pasta keep it thick.
If opting to put this on pasta, as per the photos, cook the pasta as per packaging. Once done drain, but save 1/4 cup of pasta water. Place the pasta back in the pot and top with the desired amount of pesto. Start with a little, you can always add more. Toss the pasta in the pesto and add a drizzle of pasta water to thin out. Keep tossing and adding until you have reached your desired coverage and consistency.
Store this pesto in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 – 1 1/2 weeks. Or store it in the freezer for 1-2 months.