Sometimes it’s good to get creative! This refreshingly different pasta recipe features a new vegetable, broccolini, which is a hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan a.k.a. Chinese broccoli. It is similar to broccoli although it has smaller florets and long, thin stalks. The taste of this newcomer – developed in Japan in 1993 – is similar to broccoli and asparagus. And you definitely can’t complain about its nutritional values, because it is high in vitamin C and also contains vitamin A, calcium, folate, and iron. The second creative aspect of this dish is the recipe for the pesto. This Ligurian delight is traditionally made with basil, garlic, pine nuts with olive oil and Parmigiano. This time around the basil gets replaced with the strong taste of the rocket. At the end you will have a pasta plate that awakens your palate to a whole new world of endless possibilities.
40 gr/ 1 2/3 oz rocket
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
50 gr/ 1 2/3 oz Parmigiano, freshly grated
2-3 tbsp pine nuts
130 gr/ 4.5 oz pancetta, in cubes (optional)
400 gr/ 14 oz broccolini
black pepper to taste
Pesto di rucola: Mix the rocket, garlic, Parmigiano, the pine nuts and olive oil in a blender. If needed, add salt. The end result should be creamy and smooth. The pesto can be stored in the fridge for a few days.
The pasta: Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the pancetta cubes and fry them over a low heat. Add the rinsed broccolini and continue frying for ca. 4-6 minutes until the broccolini has softened a bit. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Mix the pesto with the pasta, and arrange the pancetta cubes and the broccolini on them. Sprinkle some black pepper and serve immediately.