Orecchiette with Broccoli-Rabe Pesto

orecchiette with broccoli rabe pesto and crisp salami
Photo: Julia Gartland
Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

Crisp salami adds a welcome piquant crunch to this bright, nutty fall pasta, but feel free to omit if you want to keep it vegetarian.


  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, tough stems removed

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 small clove garlic, smashed and peeled

  • cup walnuts, toasted

  • 1 ounce pecorino, grated (½ cup)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 ounces salami, such as sopressata, thinly sliced (½ cup)

  • 1 pound orecchiette

  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Cook broccoli rabe in a large pot of salted boiling water until bright green and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath; drain well. Add to the bowl of a food processor with garlic, walnuts, cheese, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add 1/4 cup oil; process until smooth.

  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium. Add salami; cook until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels.

  3. Meanwhile, return pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups water. Add pasta to skillet with pesto and half of salami. Add pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, to evenly coat. Season with pepper and nutmeg, sprinkle with remaining salami, and serve.


This recipe also works with conventional broccoli florets. Blanch 3 to 4 minutes until tender.

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