Coming from a Barese family, eating broccoli rabe is non-negiotable — it's a staple. In my grandmother's town of Adelfia in Bari, Italy, the cousin of spinach and the sister to broccoli was on the table quite often. What wasn't on the table ever? Farro. Though an Italian grain, it never existed in our lives until I introduced it recently. Now, when blended with the familiar verde, hearty crumbed walnuts, and sharp Parmagiano, it is welcomed with a smile.
For the pesto
- 1 bunch of broccoli rabe, cleaned and trimmed
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and divided
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped and divided
- 1 cup Italian farro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the pesto
Steam the broccoli rabe and drain in a colander and let it rest for 3-4 minutes. When cool, chop lightly by hand and place the broccoli rabe, garlic, 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano, oil, and ½ of the walnuts in a food processor and blend until smooth but fairly thick. Put aside. boil the farro in a small pot until it is soft but still has a crunchy texture, about 10 minutes. In a sauté pan, bring 2 tablespoons of the pesto and the farro together. Top with remaining Parmigiano and cover with lid for 2 minutes. When serving, sprinkle with remaining walnuts, salt, and pepper, to taste.