Farfalle with Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Fried Salami, and Burst Tomatoes

Farfalle with Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Fried Salami, and Burst Tomatoes

Farfalle with Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Fried Salami, and Burst Tomatoes. Big Love Cooking by Joey Campanaro with Theresa Gambacorta. Photography by Con Poulos.

Big Love CookingFrom Joey Campanaro, the lovable chef and owner of popular Little Owl restaurant in New York City, Big Love Cooking features 75 accessible recipes infused with Mediterranean flavours inspired by Joey’s Italian-American family.

This is simple, authentic food, with generous servings and nourishing, shareable meals.

• Includes stories from the restaurant, historical NYC photographs, and conversational advice
• Dishes include Little Owl Crispy Chicken, Ricotta Cavatelli with Tomato Broth, Bacon, and Fava Beans, and Brioche French Toast with Stewed Strawberries.
• Features warm, inviting photography that emulates the family-style meals

With accessible recipes and familiar ingredients, this cookbook is perfect for big family meals that will please a crowd.

Recipes include mouth-watering dishes like Littleneck Clams with Juicy Bread, Mom-Mom Pizza, and Pork Chop with Parmesan Butter Beans.

  • Big Love Cooking is a return to hearty platters and heartwarming comfort food with a strong sense of place.
  • Perfect for cooks interested in Mediterranean cuisine and Italian-American favourites
  • A great gift for the home cook that is interested in hearty, delicious Italian meals over trends
  • Add it to the shelf with cookbooks like Carmine’s Family-Style Cookbook by Michael Ronis, The Meatball Shop Cookbook by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow, and The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual by Peter Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo, and Frank Meehan.

Big Love Cooking: 75 Recipes for Satisfying, Shareable Comfort Food is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.

Farfalle with Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Fried Salami, and Burst Tomatoes

Farfalle (“butterflies” in Italian) is one of my favourite pasta shapes to pair with a clingy, fresh pesto sauce. For my broccoli rabe pesto, you start with my traditional Basil Pesto and add blanched and puréed broccoli rabe for an even brighter green version (it gets so green that it almost looks fake!). The addition of salty, fried salami adds texture and a subtle porky flavour that I love. Dollops of fresh ricotta cheese finish this dish to honour my dad. Growing up, he would always add a dollop of fresh ricotta to his pasta (I am more of a grated pecorino guy) and the older I got, the more I figured he was onto something. When it melts into the pasta, it’s kind of big love dreamy. This pesto can be made 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

SERVES 4 to 6

6 oz [170 g] fresh broccoli rabe, ends trimmed

¾cup [180 ml] Basil Pesto (recipe follows)

Kosher salt

1 Tbsp butter

12 grape or cherry tomatoes (a variety of colours and sizes to please the eye)

6 oz [170 g] pork salami or soppressata, diced, or deli salami, thinly sliced into strips

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb [454 g] store-bought farfalle

¼ cup [25 g] finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese

4 oz [115 g] fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Freshly ground black pepper

Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl (preferably metal) with cold water and ice. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and boil until it turns a bright green colour and is tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the broccoli rabe to the ice water bath and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop. Set aside.

In the work bowl of your food processor, prepare the Basil Pesto. Add the chopped broccoli rabe and 1 tsp of kosher salt and purée until smooth, scraping down the sides to fully incorporate the mixture, about 1 minute.

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of kosher salt and cook until all the tomatoes burst open, leaking their juices into the pan, with smaller tomatoes bursting sooner, larger ones later. Not everyone always gets to the party at the same time, but they’ll pop when ready, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the salami and the olive oil and cook, stirring now and then, until the salami is crispy and that beautiful fatty pork smell hits your nose, 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Give the skillet a wipe to remove excess oil and set aside. (You’ll use this same skillet to dress your farfalle.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle, bring the water back to a boil, and cook according to the directions on the package. Before draining, use a glass measuring cup to scoop out about ¼ cup [60 ml] of pasta water (or a little more—better to have it in case you need it) and set aside.

Using a colander, drain the farfalle, shaking it to remove any visible pasta water. Transfer the farfalle directly into the now-empty and wiped-out skillet over low heat, add the broccoli rabe pesto, the Parmesan, and the reserved pasta water, and use a wooden spoon to gently and evenly coat the farfalle in creamy green pesto, alternating mixing and folding, about 1 minute. Add more pasta water, a little bit at a time (1 Tbsp constitutes a little bit, in case you’re wondering), if necessary.

Transfer these gorgeously green butterflies to your favourite serving platter and serve family style, topped with the reserved salami, the burst tomatoes, and dollops of fresh ricotta. (Oh, my goodness! So nice! Like a lemon ice!) Finish with drizzles of extra-virgin olive oil and some fresh grinds of pepper. Serve immediately.

Basil Pesto

While fresh basil pesto is a quick condiment to put together, pine nuts are expensive! Follow these tips when toasting them to protect your investment and prevent burning: (1) Always use a combination of a tiny nugget (½ tsp) of butter and olive oil. The milk solids will break down in the butter and attach to the pine nuts, giving them a really nice nutty flavour. (2) Don’t walk away from the pan. And (3) lift the pan and shake while you stir (it fun). By lifting the pan of pine nuts off the heat, you will alternate from hot to cool and toast them evenly.


1 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp unsalted butter

¼ cup [30 g] pine nuts

1 cup [12 g] packed fresh basil leaves

2 small garlic cloves

¼ cup [25 g] finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese

½ cup [120 ml] extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the olive oil, butter, and pine nuts and toast (see headnote) until fragrant and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

To the work bowl of your food processor, add the toasted pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan, extra-virgin olive oil, a generous pinch of kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper and spin until it makes a thick, smooth, bright green purée, about 45 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and give it another pulse to really incorporate it. If not using immediately, reserve in an airtight container for up to 1 week or divvy up the pesto in ice cube trays and freeze, taking out small portions as needed.

Reprinted from Big Love Cooking by Joey Campanaro with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020.

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