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Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

This pesto will knock your socks off and it’s much lighter than most pestos because of not using olive oil. The pistachio really made this pesto pop. It’s GOOOOD. I did have a hard time finding broccoli rabe, but the grocer suggested collard greens since they have a similar taste.

1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough lower stems removed
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
3/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt
1/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 pound orecchiette pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes and then immediately plunge in the salted ice water. This will prevent the broccoli rabe from being overcooked and will set the lovely green color.
2. Drain the broccoli rabe and squeeze out any excess water; coarsely chop. Place the broccoli rabe in the bowl of a food processor and puree until it is a coarse paste. Add the pistachios and parmigiano and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning; you probably will need more salt. Add the ricotta and pulse until combined. Taste for seasoning once again-it should be full-flavored, slightly bitter and creamy at the same time. Set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. (If you are making the pasta right after the pesto, just use the broccoli rabe blanching water.) Cook the pasta 1 minute less than the cooking time on the package.
4. While the pasta is cooking, place the pesto in a large skillet and add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water; place over medium-high heat. When the pasta is ready, drain and add to the skillet with the pesto. Stir vigorously to combine and cook until the sauce is creamy and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes; add salt to taste. Remove from the heat, add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, if desired, and stir vigorously. Garnish with more parmigiano.

Serves 4, Weight Watchers PPV: 10 per serving (without the finishing olive oil)

From the healthy kitchen of RecFitter Kimberly Lopez. Read more at learningtolovethekitchen.tumblr.com.