Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe & Pine Nuts

Rigatoni with Broccoli

I am always up for trying a new pasta recipe! I could eat pasta every night — unfortunately my waist line can’t keep up!

I was so excited to try this Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe and Pine Nuts recipe! But what I didn’t expect was to get the biggest surprise of my cooking life!

I actually failed at this recipe but what I found out was that even a failure can result in an amazing dish with incredible flavor.

Curious yet?

Rigatoni with broccoli
This recipe starts with cleaning up the broccoli rabe, which I had never made before. You need to first peel away the thick skin on the bottom and cut crosswise into 3-inch lengths.

Put the broccoli rabe into a bowl of cold water and let stand for 1 hour.

Rigatoni with broccoli
In the meantime, get your garlic and other ingredients ready.

You need 5 cloves of garlic, thickly sliced.

Rigatoni with broccoli

Shredded parmesan cheese.

Rigatoni with broccoli

And 1/2 cup of pine nuts.

Rigatoni with Broccoli

After your broccoli rabe has soaked in cold water for 1 hour, you will need to add it to boiling water. Fill a saucepan about 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt to the boiling water, then add the broccoli rabe. Partially cover the boiling water and let cook for 5 minutes.

In a separate pan, heat up a 1/2 cup of olive oil over a medium flame. Add the garlic, pine nuts and pinch of red pepper flakes and saute for about 5 minutes.

Rigatoni with broccoli

Drain the broccoli rabe and add to the saucepan. Saute for an additional 2 minutes with the broccoli rabe. Add a pinch of sea salt for flavor.

In a separate saucepan, you will cook your rigatoni. Make sure you add salt to the pan and cook for 10-11 minutes.  Make sure it’s undercooked because it will heat up more with the broccoli rabe mixture.

Rigatoni with brocolli

Add the pasta to the pan with the broccoli rabe and mix.

While I was cooking my broccoli rabe, I somehow cooked it enough for it to fall apart.  But it didn’t take away from the dish. The flavor stayed in-tact and became part of the dish.

Rigatoni with broccoli

Add your shredded parmesan cheese and serve.
Rigatoni with broccoli

This dish was delightful! It had tons of flavor despite the broccoli rabe thinning out on me. I actually think I shredded my broccoli rabe too thin. Next time I will keep it a little thicker and not cook it as long.

Nonetheless, it was a great dish!

Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe and Pine Nuts

Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


  • 2 pounds Broccoli Rabe
  • 3/4 pounds Rigatoni
  • 5 large Garlic cloves thickly cut lengthwise
  • 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 cup Pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt


  1. First prepare the Broccoli Rabe by washing it and peeling away the thick thin from the lower stalks. Cut crosswise into 3-inch lengths
  2. Place Broccoli Rabe into a bowl and cover with water. Let stand for 1 hour
  3. Fill a saucepan 3/4s full of water and bring to a boil on high heat.
  4. Once boiling, add the Broccoli Rabe and 1 tablespoon of salt and return to boil. Cover partially and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. In a large fry pan, warm the Olive Oil over medium heat
  6. Add the Garlic, Pine nuts and pinch of Red Pepper Flakes and saute for 5 minutes
  7. After 5 minutes, add the Broccoli Rabe and saute for another 2 minutes
  8. Season with a pinch of Sea Salt
  9. In a separate pan, bring water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook for 10-11 minutes (al dente)
  10. Drain pasta and add to Broccoli Rabe mixture. Mix together (if you need to thicken it up, you can add some pasta water to the mixture)
  11. Shred parmesan cheese and add to top of dish. Mix together
  12. Serve immediately

Recipe Notes

There are may ways to vary up this recipe. Add regular broccoli instead of broccoli rabe. Use chickpeas instead of pine nuts. Even make this with linguine instead of rigatoni.


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