Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Pasta

On my visit to Highland Orchards I picked up a bunch of their broccoli rabe. I had a Mario Batali recipe for broccoli rabe pesto that I had been wanting to play with, so this seemed like a good opportunity to do that.

The color of the finished pesto had to make me smile – it looked more like guacamole than pesto (but it definitely tasted like pesto, not guac).

I liked the sharp flavor the mustard added to what was otherwise a fairly mild pesto. I also added some pecorino Romano to enhance that even more. To serve, we topped the pasta and pesto with additional freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

The recipe is scalable, I had a large bunch, about 1 pound, and made a good 3 cups of pesto.

Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Pasta

adapted from Mario Batali’s Broccoli Rabe Pesto

2 Tbsp Kosher salt

1 lb broccoli rabe, stems trimmed (from Highland Orchards)

4 – 6 garlic cloves, depending on the size

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano

1/4 cup Locatelli romano

Pasta, cooked according to package directions (amounts depend upon the number of people you are serving)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add Kosher salt. Add the Broccoli rabe and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to a bowl of ice water.  Drain well.

In a food processor, with the motor running, drop in the garlic and finely chop it.  Add the broccoli rabe and almonds and pulse until finely chopped.

Add the mustard and blend well.

With  the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cheeses.

Makes about 3 cups of pesto.  Enjoy!  Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed glass jar, topped with a thin layer of olive oil for about a week.  Or can be placed in sealed plastic bags and frozen for a few months.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Pesto, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Butternut Squash

Time to use the first of the butternut squash from my garden.  

It was “parents night out”, with Cam spending the evening at Tae Kwan Do. So, our version of night out – a good dinner, a walk with the dog, and a movie rental.  We finally watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – what a treat!

But I digress; our dinner was so pretty and colorful.  And equally tasty.  This was a another great recipe from Melissa Clark. I have really been enjoying trying her recipes.

Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Butternut Squash

By Melissa Clark

1 ½ pounds butternut squash (from the garden)½ cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more for squash

Freshly ground black pepper

1 small bunch (about 1/2 pound)lacinato kale, center ribs removed

8 ounces pasta (penne rigate works well)

cup toasted pine nuts

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped (from the garden)

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a vegetable peeler to peel squash, then halve it lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Dice squash flesh into 1-inch pieces, place on a baking sheet, and toss with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread pieces into an even layer, making sure there is space between them.Roast, stirring squash pieces once or twice, until golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes.Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; have ready a bowl of ice water. Drop kale into boiling water and cook for 45 seconds. Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer kale to ice water.Bring water in pot back to a boil, adding more if necessary so there is enough to cook pasta. When water in pot comes back to a boil, cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain kale well, then wrap tightly in a dry kitchen towel and squeeze thoroughly to remove any excess moisture. Roughly chop leaves.

In a food processor, pulse together kale, nuts, garlic, salt and lemon zest until mixture is smooth and salt has dissolved. With motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until fully incorporated. Taste and add more salt dissolved in a little lemon juice, if necessary.

Drain pasta, reserving a little cooking water. Toss pasta with kale pesto and some pasta cooking water if necessary to help it coat pasta. Add cheese, lemon juice and salt to taste.Serve topped with squash and more cheese and Enjoy!

Serves 3.


Categories: Butternut Squash, Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Pesto, Recipe, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Parsley Walnut Pesto

What is still growing well in my garden?  Parsley!  The plants look beautiful and healthy.


This pesto uses parsley and toasted walnuts in place of the basil and pine nuts.  Otherwise, it is basically the same recipe as basil pesto.


The pesto has a stronger, sharper flavor; it was excellent.



Parsley Walnut Pesto

2 cups parsley (from the garden)

1 clove garlic (from the garden)

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup Parmigiano reggiano, grated


Place the parsley, garlic, walnuts, salt and pepper in a food processor.


Process until fine.


With the processor running, add the olive oil.


Add the cheese and pulse until well combined.


Serve with pasta and enjoy!


Makes 1 cup.


Categories: Kosher, Pesto, Vegetarian | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Broccoli Pesto Pizza

Growing basil indoors in the winter gives me fresh basil to use to make pesto.  There is no denying that I would like this dish even better in the summer and fall when I have my own broccoli and tomatoes to use, but since I love my tender little basil leaves, I will post it now.


This isn’t your mother’s pesto pizza, it is Broccoli Pesto Pizza.  I have adapted a recipe by Ellie Krieger in Food Network Magazine to better fit my family’s tastes…fresh mozzarella (not goat cheese) and adding garlic to the pesto.  I think next time I will add some sun-dried tomatoes on top as well – my husband and I looked at each other as we ate it and both thought that sun-dried tomatoes would be a perfect addition.


It is a feel-good dinner.  It’s pizza, and who doesn’t love pizza?  But it is also incredibly healthy.  So, enjoy!!!

Broccoli Pesto Pizza

adapted from Food Network Magazine (Ellie Krieger)

2 cups cooked chopped broccoli (ok to use frozen)

2 cloves garlic, chopped (from the garden)

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan

1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves (kitchen grown)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp cornmeal

3/4 lb store-bought pizza dough (whole wheat is preferable), at room temperature

Cooking spray

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, chopped

1 large tomato, thinly sliced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


Preheat the oven to 475F.

If using frozen broccoli, thaw according to package directions.

In a food processor, add the broccoli, garlic, 1/3 cup parmesan, 2/3 cup basil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil.  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.


Spray a pizza pan or baking sheet with cooking spray, sprinkle with cornmeal.  Place the pizza dough in the center of the pan and use a rolling pin or your hands (I used my hands and it worked great) to stretch the dough into a 12-14 inch circle.


Spread the broccoli pesto over the dough, leaving a border for the crust.


Scatter the cheese on top of the pesto.


Arrange the tomato slices on top.


Bake until the cheese and tomatoes are softened and the crust is golden brown, 12 – 14 minutes. Garnish with remaining parmesan, basil and the red pepper flakes.


Slice into 8 wedges and enjoy!


Serves 4.

Categories: Broccoli, Kosher, Main Dish, Pesto, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 2 Comments

Carrot Top Pesto

It always seemed such a waste to me to discard (compost) the carrot greens after harvesting my carrots. There had to be a use for them, I just didn’t know what. Time to turn to my favorite book about root vegetables, Roots by Diane Morgan. And there it was, a recipe for Carrot Top Pesto! It seemed like the perfect combination, my love of pesto and my disdain for wasting anything I grow. I just had to try it. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to have carrot bouquets on my counter!

Carrot Top Pesto 1

How did it turn out? Let’s just say that Cam had a double helping! Carrot top pesto will become the standard dinner on carrot harvest days. It tasted very much like basil pesto, but with carrot overtones and a nice, sharp bite.

Carrot Top Pesto 4

Carrot Top Pesto

slightly adapted from Roots by Diane Morgan

1 cup lightly packed carrot leaves (stems removed) (from the garden)

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves

1/4 tsp kosher or fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted (see my note below)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


My note – Toasting pine nuts – Heat a small non-stick skillet over high heat. Toss the pine nuts in the dry skillet and keep stirring/swirling for about 1 to 1.5 minutes. Remove from heat. Be careful not to burn the pine nuts.

Carrot Top Pesto 2

In a food processor, combine the carrot leaves, garlic, salt, pepper and cheese.

Carrot Top Pesto 3


Process until finely minced. Add in the oil and process until just combined.

Carrot Top Pesto 4


Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Enjoy!

Carrot Top Pesto 6


Makes about 2/3 cup.



Categories: Carrot, Kosher, Pesto, Recipe, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

Kale Pesto

If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I love pesto.  And, I love trying new types of pesto.  Tonight’s dinner – Pasta with Kale Pesto and Peas.  Cammy suggested adding the peas, good choice!

Kale Pesto 2

The kale in my garden has loved the cool spring weather.  It is the first time I have gotten kale to grow well for me.  I did not plant much since it has always been a bust, but my 4 plants are beautiful and healthy.

Kale Pesto 7

I also have some walnuts in the house, left over from another cooking project, so, kale walnut pesto it is. Cam so loves pine nut based pesto, I was curious to see how he would respond to this twist. I have to say that even I was a little skeptical as to how it would taste, but it was amazing!  Cammy ate all of his plate. You have to try it!

I  do have an admission to make, I have no idea where I got this recipe.  I just found the printed page with no reference on it.  So, to whomever this recipe is from…thank you!

Kale Pesto

from unknown

2 cups packed kale leaves (from the garden)

1/2 cup toasted walnuts*

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese or grana padano

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1/4 cup olive oil


Place all of the ingredients in a food processor.

Kale Pesto 4

Puree until smooth.

Kale Pesto 3

Serve with pasta and grated parmesan.

Kale Pesto 1

Makes 1 cup of pesto, enough to make 4 – 6 pasta servings.

*Toasted walnuts: Heat oven to 400F.  Place walnuts on a baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes.

Kale Pesto 6

Categories: Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Pesto, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto

Cam and I were home alone for a few days.  Cooking for just the two of us is always a challenge, especially since he is now in a grilled-cheese-for-every-meal phase.  At least he wants to make them with me (he is finally wanting to cook again!)

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto 1

One of the few other foods I can still get him to eat is pesto. He removed the asparagus (he is 4, after all) but devoured the pasta and peas, declaring it delicious!  So, I had a tasty dinner and he ate something other than grilled cheese.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto 5

My cooking pictures are using quantities for two people, I have included the recipe for 4 servings.  For the leftovers, I added in some sun-dried tomatoes, another fun way to eat this.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto

12 – 16 ounces pasta

1 lb asparagus (from Farmer Kim)

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup pesto (I used garlic scape pesto with pistachios, any pesto would work well)

Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, for serving


Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  With 4 minutes left to cooking, add the peas.  Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water.

While the pasta cooks, cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, steam for 3 minutes.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto 2

Place the pesto in a large bowl.  Add the asparagus.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto 3

Drain the pasta and peas and add to the bowl.  Mix well to coat all with the pesto.  Add some of the reserved pasta water if more liquid is needed.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto 6

Serve with grated cheese.

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Pesto 5

Serves 4.

Categories: Asparagus, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Pesto, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 8 Comments

Chicken Pesto Tart

Just because it is a weeknight doesn’t mean you can’t have tasty food…quick, tasty food.  Sometimes all it takes is a little planning ahead.  In this case, the planning included putting a sheet of puff pastry and a jar of my garlic scape pesto in the fridge to thaw the night before and having some cooked chicken ready to be diced. I adapted this recipe from theKitchn, and because I used my garlic scape pesto, I was able to omit the roasted garlic, salt and pepper.  If you do not have garlic scape pesto – make some!  Otherwise, click on the link to get their original recipe.


I also added chopped grape tomatoes, which added both flavor and color.  I cooked ours more to pizza done-ness, you can cook it on the longer end for a more browned cheese.

chicken pesto tart 2

Chicken Pesto Tart

adapted from theKitchn

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1/4 cup garlic scape pesto

1 cup cooked chicken breast, diced

1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

2 Tbsp Parmesan, grated

6 grape tomatoes, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning, if needed


Preheat the oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the thawed puff pastry on the parchment.  Prick the dough all over to prevent it from puffing (I did not prick the edges because I wanted a bit of a puffy crust).

Brush the pesto over the dough, scatter the chicken over the pesto (if your chicken is bland, toss it with a bit of oilve oil, salt and pepper first), then top with the cheeses.  Finish off by sprinkling the tomatoes over the top.

chicken pesto tart 1

Bake until the cheese is melted and light golden brown, approximately 15 – 25 minutes.  Start checking for doneness after 15 minutes. Remove the tart to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.

chicken pesto tart 3

Cut into squares and serve.  Enjoy!

chicken pesto tart 4

Serves 2 as a dinner, can be cut smaller and used for appetizers.

Categories: Main Dish, Pesto, Recipe | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Pesto Salmon Cakes

We are still working our way through all the sauces I made and froze last summer.  I am always amazed at how much pesto there is in the freezer; I think it multiplies when I am not looking!

So, tonight it was time to use some pesto to make really yummy salmon cakes.  Of course, at his request, I made salmon sticks for Cam.

pesto salmon cake7

The funniest part of dinner was when Cam, who was no where near the kitchen when I cooked, bit into a salmon stick, smiled and asked, “is there pesto in here?”  Not a bad palate for a 3 year old!  Even better that he was bappy that there was pesto in it.  It shouldn;t be a surprise, since pesto is his preferred pasta sauce (see Cammy’s Pesto).

Anyway, back to the salmon cakes… the pesto provides both flavor and moisture to the mixture.  Tonight I added lime zest as well, I usually use lemon zest- both work really well.  For our sandwiches, I made a pesto-mayonnaise (a mixture of about 1 Tbsp pesto with 1/3 cup mayonnaise) and topped it with organic marinated tomatoes.

pesto salmon cake6

Pesto Salmon Cakes

1 pound canned red salmon – wild caught

1 cup panko

1/4 cup pesto, from the garden

1 egg, from Farmer Kim

1 tsp lemon or lime zest

2 Tbsp olive oil


Flake the salmon and mix with panko.

pesto salmoncake1

Add the pesto and mix thoroughly.

pesto salmon cake2

Lightly beat the egg and add it and the zest to the mixture and form into patties (or sticks).

pesto salmon cake4

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook salmon, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

pesto salmon cake5

Serve with pesto mayonnaise and whatever other condiments you choose. Enjoy!

pesto salmon cake6

Serves 4.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pesto, Recipe, Sandwich | Tags: | 6 Comments

Ricotta & Pesto Souffle

Remember all that pesto I made and froze?  I sent a bag of pesto “cubes” with Emily to keep in her freezer in her apartment.  But there is still a lot of pesto in my freezer.  So, it is time to thaw some!

This dinner highlighted my pesto and Farmer Kim’s eggs in Molly Katzen’s Ricotta & Pesto Souffle.  I used her recipe except that I used my own pesto recipe.

It was a tasty, light dinner that we ate with tomato cucumber salad. For tonight I used a good red wine vinegar and olive oil in making the dressing, and added in some dried oregano.  Sorry, no pictures – we ate that before I thought to grab the camera.

Cam (the 3 year old) even ate his whole serving of souffle.  It always makes me happy to see a little one eating weird looking green food!

Ricotta & Pesto Souffle

from Molly Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest

a little melted butter (I used cooking spray) and grated parmesan for the souffle dish

1 lb ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)

6 eggs, separated and at room temperature (from Farmer Kim)

2 Tbsp unbleached white flour

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper, lots

1/3 cup grated parmesan

1 cup pesto (home-made if possible)

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Lightly brush a 2 qt souffle dish with melted butter or spray with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the bottom with some grated parmesan.

Place the ricotta in a large bowl.  Add the egg yolks, four, salt, pepper, parmesan, and pesto.

Beat with a whisk until well combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (I used my electric mixer).  I probably should have beaten them more, but they were pretty stiff.

Gently but persuasively (Mollie’s words) fold the beaten egg whites into the ricotta mixture.  Use a firm rubber spatula and turn the bowl as you fold.


Transfer the batter to the souffle dish.

Without a moment’s hesitation (also Mollie’s words – why would I ever change these?), place the souffle into the oven, and reduce the heat to 350F.  Let it bake undisturbed for 45 minutes.

Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pesto, Recipe, Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Vegetarian | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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