I made this the first time right after having a wisdom tooth out, because I was dying for real food but still wasn’t able to chew much. It turned out to be one of my favorite recipes this fall, and I’ve made it three times since. The broccoli rabe is a nice, slightly bitter change from a regular pesto genovese. Pairing it with orzo can make it a little healthier by encouraging you to increase the vegetable to pasta ratio. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil at the end gives it a floral, fresh flavor and a more luxurious mouthfeel. Try it this weekend!
Orzo with Broccoli Rabe Pesto
1 bunch broccoli rabe, stems trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups uncooked orzo
Cook the orzo in heavily salted water according to package instructions. Meanwhile, saute the broccoli rabe, onion, and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the broccoli rabe is tender, but not falling apart.
Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. Add the broccoli rabe mixture along with the olive oil, and blend until smooth. Add the parmesan and combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
In a bowl, toss the cooked orzo and pesto. You can add some pasta cooking water if it’s too thick. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.