Fusilli with Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Fusilli with Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Burst Cherry Tomatoes

The healthy secret to this simple pasta dish is in the sauce. Traditional pesto is a blend of garlic, basil, oil and cheese. Our version uses broccoli rabe, a cruciferous vegetable rich in isothiocyanates and other health benefiting compounds that may play a role in cancer prevention. Top with colorful cherry tomatoes for a burst of flavor and extra nutrition.

Fusilli with Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Makes 4 servings. (Yield 1¼ cup pesto, about 1/3 cup per serving). Per serving: 424 calories, 21 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 48 g carbohydrate, 12 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 110 mg sodium.

  • 1 bunch (about 1 1/4 lbs. broccoli rabe)
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 8 oz. whole-wheat or whole-grain fusilli
  • 1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves (coarsely chopped)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup 1 oz. freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup 10.5 oz. small cherry tomatoes


Bring large pot filled with water to boil.

Meanwhile, cut off bottom 2 inches of stems from broccoli rabe. Picking through bunch, break off and discard remaining woody part from thick stems. Pinch off and set aside florets, saving them for another use.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to boiling water. Add broccoli rabe. Cook with water bubbling until greens are tender but firm, 8 minutes. Drain greens in colander. Use back of wooden spoon to press greens firmly against side of colander to extract as much water as possible from broccoli rabe; greens should be moist not wet.

Refill drained pot with water and cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, pulse almonds, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using), in food processor until coarsely chopped, 10-12 pulses. Add broccoli rabe and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Add cheese and pulse 10 times. With motor running, drizzle in 2 tablespoons oil. Pesto should be finely textured with white flecks of nut, not a smooth puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain cooked pasta and divide it among 4 wide, shallow bowls. Add pesto and using fork, combine with pasta.

In medium skillet heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Add tomatoes and cook, using wooden spoon to keep tomatoes rolling in pan until skin cracks on serve.

Grocery List:

  • Broccoli rabe
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Whole-wheat or whole-grain fusilli
  • Almonds
  • Garlic cloves
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Pecorino cheese
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes

The Author:

Developed by Dana Jacobi – A Something Different recipe

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