Storie di pesto – Penne con pesto alle cime di rapa e gamberi

pestorapini2web Lately, I have been too busy and hundred things to take care of, which in my world means no sleep and no time for anything including cooking and of course, deep under eye circles. Those cernes how we call them in French make me look like a zombie, it’s amazing how lack of sleep can make you look like ten years older. Even make up doesn’t seem to work. Quelle horreur!!

When I have no time to cook, pasta is always my favorite number one solution, and the one that comes into my mind. It’s fast, nutritious and delicious.  It certainly will not make my cernes go away, but at least, my other part of the body will feel rested and happy.

Pesto is a very versatile and can be made with many vegetables. Of course, the original pesto is from Liguria region and made with pine nuts, basil parmesan, olive oil and garlic. When I think of pesto, I think of Genoa, therefore of Cristoforo Colombo, our dear explorer who somehow “discovered” America. He might have not “discovered” anything but his statue is erected at Coit Tower in San Francisco. The first time my parents came visit, I had to take my dad see Cristoforo statue and the jail cell of Al Capone in Alcatraz and I could see my dad’s excitement, 12 years later he still talks about this.

This pesto has everything Pesto alla Genovese has except for cheese, then broccoli rabe is the main ingredient. I don’t like to mix cheese and shrimps in general in pasta dishes so I omitted the cheese because parmesan being quite strong and shrimps being quite strong too, the mixture of both can be too overwhelming. The broccoli rabe is not really cooked just boiled for 30 seconds so you get a beautiful greenish color and fragrant fresh flavor.

Ingredients for 4

  • 11.28 oz (or 320 g) penne
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 bunch basil leaves
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tbs sliced almond
  • about 10 shrimps, deveined
  • salt and pepper


Boil 2 cups of water, when the water boil, add broccoli rabe and let cook for about 30 seconds, remove from stove and drain.

In a mixer proceed like you would for regular pesto, combining all ingredients together, and blend until a semi-thin consistency, not like a smooth paste.

Remove shells and devein shrimps. Cut them in 3 small pieces. Saute in olive oil until cooked.

Cook pasta al dente, drain and place in a mixing pasta bowl. Add pesto and shrimps, mix well and serve.