Whole Wheat Pesto Pasta with Broccoli Rabe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I like to conserve my pine nuts, which is why I use half almonds. But you can use all of one or the other. Similarly, I sometimes like to dilute the basil flavor in my pesto, which is why I suggest going halvsies with spinach or arugula--though you'll find a different taste flavor depending on what you choose. Finally, young broccoli rabe is not very bitter, which means you can likely skip the blanching and simply add the stalks to the pan with the onion. Toast the nuts in a dry pan, or in the oven, until fragrant and golden.
Serves: 2
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (or use all pine nuts), toasted
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach or arugula (or use 2 cups basil)
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed and trimmed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • ⅔ pound whole wheat spaghetti (about 10 ounces if you’re measuring)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Place the garlic and a pinch of salt in a mini food processor. Pulse to pulverize, then add the pine nuts, almonds, basil, and spinach. Zest the lemon and add that too. Drizzle in about ¼ cup of oil, enough to make a very smooth paste. Add the Parmesan, mix again, then taste for salt, adding more as needed. Set the pesto aside.
  3. When the water boils, add a big pinch of salt and the broccoli rabe. Cook for two minutes, then use a slotted spoon to lift the rabe into a strainer. Set it aside. Now add a bunch more salt to the water, as well as the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions, until 1 minute shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain.
  4. Set a skillet large enough to hold all the pasta over medium-high heat and add enough oil to film the bottom completely. Add the sliced onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft, then add the blanched broccoli rabe and cook another 4 to 6 minutes. Add the pasta and the pesto to the skillet and stir to mix, pouring in the reserved cooking water a tablespoon or two at a time, until the pesto really coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over everything, then stir again, and add more salt if needed. Serve, garnished with extra parm.
Recipe by Big Girls Small Kitchen at http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2014/06/whole-wheat-pesto-pasta-with-broccoli-rabe.html