Broccoli Rabe Pesto with Anchovies

April 07, 2022

Spring is almost here! This beautiful and easy pesto recipe uses the combined flavors of roasted broccoli rabe and toasted pumpkin seeds to give it a zestier taste of spring. Salty anchovies and lemon provide the perfect balance to the bitter rabe, leveling the flavor profile of this dish into complete harmony. Here, we use some fresh snap peas and cipollini onion in the finished dish, but any vegetable/allium combo will do just fine in place of these. Give sliced garlic and peas a chance, or opt for thinly sliced shallot and kale instead. So mix it up, and get set for the spring season, because this recipe offers endless options for reinvention. 


Serves 3-4



For the Pesto: 

4 cups Local Roots broccoli rabe, washed and tough stems discarded

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup olive oil + 2 Tbsp. (divided)

¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

1 lemon, juiced

3-4 anchovy filets

Salt to taste

For the Pasta:

1 cup Local Roots snap peas, washed and cut into ½ inch pieces

4 cipollini onions, peeled and sliced

1 lb. pasta of your choice




1. Preheat the oven to 400°F

2. Toss the broccoli rabe florets and soft stems in a bowl with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and a large pinch of salt.

3. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until brown, crispy, and tender.

4. In a blender, combine the broccoli rabe, anchovies, pumpkin seeds, lemon and garlic. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until a smooth paste forms. You may need to thin with a few splashes of water.

5. Taste the pesto and add salt if necessary.

6. Boil a large pot of salty water for pasta.

7. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, but subtracting a minute or two from the cooking time.

8. Drain the pasta and save 1 cup of pasta water.

9. In a large saute pan, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Lightly saute the cippolini onions until translucent.

10. Add the snap peas. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

11. Add four heaping tablespoons of pesto to the vegetables and stir.

12. Add the pasta and a ¼ cup of pasta water.

13. Stir until combined.

14. Add more pesto or pasta water until the sauce is to your liking.

15. Taste for salt and season to your liking.

16. Garnish with parmesan cheese and black pepper. 


This recipe was created by Local Roots Recipe contributor Sachi Nagase /

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