“Little Ear” Pasta with Broccoli Rabe
- 1 pound orechiette pasta (or small shell pasta or ziti)
- 1 to 2 bunches broccoli rabe, washed and trimmed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed or chopped
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese
In a large Pot, bring 3 quarts salted water to boil. Add pasta and cover pot. When water returns to boil, add the broccoli rabe and continue to boil until pasta is cooked al dente. The pasta will be infused with the flavor of the greens. Before draining the pasta and greens, ladle out about 2 cups of the liquid and reserve. Drain pasta and greens. In a skillet heat the olive oil and saute the garlic and crushed pepper until the garlic is browned. In a large pasta bowl toss the pasta and greens with the garlic and crushed pepper, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if desired. Top with cheese. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Broccoli rabe (also called “brocoletti de rape,” rape” or “rapini”) has six to nine leafy green stalks and scattered clusters of tiny broccoli-like buds. The greens have a pungent, bitter flavor that is popular in Italian cooking. To clean broccoli rabe cut and discard the lower stems that are hard as well as some of the extra leaf-like foliage. The remainder should be roughly cut into bite-sized pieces.