Thursday, October 28, 2010

Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Ever since we returned from San Francisco, I keep staring at my pictures of the sandwich I had at Tartine Bakery and drooling. I know I can't even come close to recreating their bread, but I thought I could at least take a stab at recreating the flavors at home. The sandwich, to recap, involved broccoli rabe pesto, fontina cheese and soppressata on country bread. First up: make broccoli rabe pesto.

I used this recipe as a guide. You'll need: broccoli rabe (similar to broccoli, but with smaller, thinner buds), garlic cloves, pine nuts, grated parmesan, lemon juice, salt, pepper, chili flakes (I subbed red pepper flakes) and plenty of olive oil.

First things first, I chopped the buds from the stems and sauteed them about a minute until they were crisp tender. That's what you see in the picture above.

Then I dumped the broccoli rabe in an ice bath to shock the veggies and preserve the color and texture. This is crucial if you like your veggies a little crisp the way I do; another crucial thing: a Sean to make your ice bath in advance. Once the broccoli is cool, pat it dry with a paper towel.

Have you seen my new best friend, the Garlic Zoom? It's like a toy for cooking! You pop a garlic clove in the top, which is hinged, and then zoom back and forth to make tiny blades mince the garlic. It is AWESOME.

Anyway, back to the broccoli. Chop it up, preferably using your brand new santoku knife that you're in love with.

And in a blender or food processor (we used our new KitchenAid blender!), place the broccoli, 1/2 cup of pine nuts, minced garlic, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and a cup of olive oil.

And blend that sucker till it's smooth!

I happened to have plenty of jars around (they were used in our centerpieces at the wedding), so I dressed it up all pretty in an old mason jar.

And enjoyed a little bit on the loaf of bread I purchased at The Fresh Market.

Now here's the nitty gritty truth: I think I needed more broccoli to make that ratio of ingredients to work. My pesto is good, but it tastes more of parmesan than broccoli. The truth is that broccoli rabe comes with much more leafy, stemmy stuff you can't use than actual buds, so you might need to alter the amount of everything to reflect that. Still, I'm in panini heaven this week!

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