Scott Conant's Broccoli Rabe Pesto Pasta Recipe

"I consider this pesto to be a minimal-effort, maximum-reward recipe," says the Food Network star and author of the new Peace, Love, and Pasta cookbook. "It has a nice balance of heat and a touch of bitterness from the broccoli rabe. Whenever someone tastes or makes it for the first time, they inevitably want more."

pasta
Photo: Jennifer Causey

"I consider this pesto to be a minimal-effort, maximum-reward recipe," says chef Scott Conant.

The Food Network star says the pesto "stores well in the refrigerator and works as an accompaniment to so many different things. I can put it out on the table as a dip or spread with bread, use it as a sauce with pasta, a topping on sandwiches or on chicken, pork and skirt steak."

"The pasta has a nice balance of heat and a touch of bitterness from the broccoli rabe. Whenever someone tastes or makes it for the first time, they inevitably want more," says the author of the new Peace, Love, and Pasta cookbook.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

  • 4 Fresno chiles, seeded and sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped broccoli rabe (from a small 9-oz. bunch)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 oz. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1 1/4 cups), divided
  • 1 (16-oz.) package fettuccine pasta
  • ¾ cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ¾ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions

Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Place chiles and their seeds in a small airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. Bring water, vinegar, sugar, coriander, crushed red pepper and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour vinegar mixture over chiles; secure lid. Let cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  • Step 2Pulse broccoli rabe, oil and garlic in a food processor until chopped, about four pulses. Transfer to a small bowl, and stir in 1⁄4 cup cheese, 2 tablespoons of the drained pickled chiles, 2 tablespoons of the chile pickling liquid and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. (Remaining pickled chiles can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to two months.)
  • Step 3Cook linguine in a pot of boiling salted water; stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions. Drain, reserving 1 1⁄4 cups cooking water.
  • Step 4Stir together drained pasta, butter, 1 cup of the reserved cooking water and remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon salt in saucepan over medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter melts, about 2 minutes; remove from heat. Gradually stir in remaining 1 cup cheese until cheese is melted and a creamy sauce forms and clings to pasta, 1 to 2 minutes, adding more cooking liquid if necessary to maintain a creamy consistency. Divide pasta among 4 bowls; top each with pesto and serve.

Tips

When shopping for broccoli rabe, look for a firm, thin-stemmed bunch with bright green, tightly closed florets. If you see any yellow leaves or spots, skip it—the rabe is past its prime.

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