A Simple and Delicious Italian Favorite!
BROCCOLI RABE PASTA
Growing up, I was a picky eater. I HATED jello, hotdogs, brussel sprouts, etc., but there were many complex flavors that I always enjoyed. I owe this to my Italian background. One of those "I was a picky eater but loved this" food was broccoli rabe (or rapini). Broccoli rabe is a great, leafy vegetable often compared to broccoli. However, the flavors could not be more different. Broccoli rabe is defined by it's somewhat bitter and nutty flavors. The strong flavor characteristics make the vegetable perfect for side and main dishes.
This particular dish is based off a recipe from an Italian family cookbook and calls for six ingredients, including anchovies. The removal of anchovies make it a delicious vegetarian dish. If you're looking for something a little heartier, you could certainly substitute the anchovies for sweet Italian sausage. It is such a versatile dinner. I made this dish for a quick and flavorful weeknight dinner. However, paired with wine and your favorite appetizer, this dish transforms into a perfect weekend/date night dinner!
You'll find yourself wanting to taste throughout the cooking process, because the smell is just that good! The cherry on top of this meal is the cheesy goodness that is parmesan cheese. I'd say it was very "gouda," but then I would have to use that too!
Broccoli Rabe Pasta
1 large bunch broccoli rabe
2 TBS. olive oil
4-5 Garlic Cloves (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 (2-oz.) cans flat anchovies
12-oz orecchiette Pasta
red chili flakes (optional)
toasted breadcrumbs (optional)
Separate the bunch of broccoli rabe and rinse thoroughly to remove any remaining dirt. Break off the stems and discard the stems. Cut the stalks into thirds and put into boiling water. Once in the water, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the broccoli rabe water and drain the broccoli rabe. Set aside.
Open the anchovies and drain the oil, reserving 2 TBS of the oil. Cut the anchovies into fourths.
Begin boiling the water for the orecchiette pasta and cook to al dente (about 8-9 minutes)
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and sauté the sliced garlic on low until slightly cooked through (2-3 minutes). Add the cut anchovies and sauté for an addition 1-2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and chili flakes and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes (enough to incorporate the flavors).
Add the reserved broccoli rabe water to the garlic/anchovy/broccoli rabe mixture as needed. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, add to the remaining ingredients in the pan and cook for
2-3 minutes. If the pasta is dry, continue to incorporate the broccoli rabe water until the desired consistency.
Plate your dish and top with additional chili flakes, toasted breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese!