For those looking for a pasta that’s a little different than usual, give this a try.
Campanelle with Broccoli Rabe Pesto
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe washed and roughly chopped, with tough stems discarded
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 leek green ends removed, sliced in half lengthwise, and then sliced thinly crosswise
- 3/4 lb campanelle pasta
- 1 cup grated pecorino romano plus extra for topping
Bring a 4 qt pot of water to a boil, and salt generously.
Add the broccoli rabe, and cook for 3-4 minutes until bright green. Drain, and add to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
Add the garlic, walnuts, and salt to the food processor. Pulse until uniform in texture, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Then, turn the processor on, and slowly pour in the olive oil. At this point, you can put the pesto in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can use it now.
While preparing the broccoli rabe, bring another 4-6 qt pot of water to a boil, and salt generously. Add the pasta, and cook according to the box directions (mine was 10 minutes).
Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a 12" non-stick sauté pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, and sauté until they start to brown. At this point, if the pasta is not yet done, turn the heat down low on the leeks until the pasta is ready.
Drain the pasta, reserving at least 2-3 cups of water, and add the pasta to the leeks. Add the pesto. To thin out the pesto, add 1 ladle of pasta water at a time, stirring gently, until the consistency is to your liking (I used 1 1/2 ladles of water).
Add the pecorino, and again stir gently until everything is incorporated.
Serve with additional grated pecorino.
- Use more garlic, for an extra garlicky pesto
- Brown Italian sausage and add it to the pasta
- Top the pasta with crumbled crispy pancetta
- Substitute a different type of nuts for walnuts, such as almonds, pistachios, or pine nuts. If you are tree nut-allergic, you can substitute shelled sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or even breadcrumbs.