Bucatini al Pesto di Broccolo Romanesco
Thomas J. Story
Yields 5 Servings Total Time 1 hr
AuthorEvan Funke

Although not strictly traditional, this pesto provides an excellent complex backdrop for the additional romanesco florets. We substitute shards of crisp fried bread crumbs for finishing cheese for deep contrast of texture.

How to Make It

1

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread the pine nuts evenly in a single layer on a small baking tray. Toast the pine nuts for 6–8 minutes or until deep golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2

Bring a large heavy-bottomed pot of water to boil, season aggressively with salt.

3

Meanwhile, trim the romanesco by separating the conical florets and reserve. Trim the bottom 1⁄4-inch off of the stems and save the center mass and trim for another use like soup. Wash and trim the bottom 1⁄4-inch of the rapini and discard.

4

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and water. Add rapini to boiling water and blanch for 2–3 minutes or until bright green. Remove rapini from water (turn down the heat, but keep the water on the stove, you’ll need it to cook the romanesco) and immediately add it to ice water to shock it and stop the cooking process. Once rapini is cool, wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and twist to wring out all the water. Roughly chop the rapini and set aside. Return water to a boil, blanch the romanesco florets for 2 minutes, and repeat the same cooling steps.

5

In a food processor combine the garlic, olive oil, anchovy, pine nuts, and cooked rapini, and blend until bright green and semi-smooth. Add the grated cheeses (reserving 2 tablespoons pecorino romano) and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from food processor.

6

To finish the dish: Bring a heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil, season it with salt so that it tastes like a soup, not the ocean. Add the bucatini. Meanwhile, place a sauté pan on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the romanesco florets and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat until the pasta is just about cooked. Once the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes, drain the pasta and reserve 1⁄4 cup or so of the pasta water in case you need a splash to moisten the pesto. Add the pesto to the pan, add pasta, toss and stir until well coated. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons pecorino romano and a splash of the pasta water to bring everything together. Transfer pasta to a warm serving platter, sprinkle fried bread crumbs abundantly over the pasta. Serve immediately.

Ingredients

 1 large leafy bunch rapini
 3/8 cup pine nuts
 2 large garlic cloves
 12–15 anchovy fillets
 ½ cup grated pecorino romano
 ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
 1 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
 2 tbsp grated pecorino romano
 1 head romanesco broccoli
 1 lb dried bucatini
 Fried bread crumbs

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread the pine nuts evenly in a single layer on a small baking tray. Toast the pine nuts for 6–8 minutes or until deep golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2

Bring a large heavy-bottomed pot of water to boil, season aggressively with salt.

3

Meanwhile, trim the romanesco by separating the conical florets and reserve. Trim the bottom 1⁄4-inch off of the stems and save the center mass and trim for another use like soup. Wash and trim the bottom 1⁄4-inch of the rapini and discard.

4

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and water. Add rapini to boiling water and blanch for 2–3 minutes or until bright green. Remove rapini from water (turn down the heat, but keep the water on the stove, you’ll need it to cook the romanesco) and immediately add it to ice water to shock it and stop the cooking process. Once rapini is cool, wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and twist to wring out all the water. Roughly chop the rapini and set aside. Return water to a boil, blanch the romanesco florets for 2 minutes, and repeat the same cooling steps.

5

In a food processor combine the garlic, olive oil, anchovy, pine nuts, and cooked rapini, and blend until bright green and semi-smooth. Add the grated cheeses (reserving 2 tablespoons pecorino romano) and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from food processor.

6

To finish the dish: Bring a heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil, season it with salt so that it tastes like a soup, not the ocean. Add the bucatini. Meanwhile, place a sauté pan on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the romanesco florets and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat until the pasta is just about cooked. Once the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes, drain the pasta and reserve 1⁄4 cup or so of the pasta water in case you need a splash to moisten the pesto. Add the pesto to the pan, add pasta, toss and stir until well coated. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons pecorino romano and a splash of the pasta water to bring everything together. Transfer pasta to a warm serving platter, sprinkle fried bread crumbs abundantly over the pasta. Serve immediately.

Bucatini al Pesto di Broccolo Romanesco

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