Monday, January 12, 2009

Rapini with Penne

This is less recipe than a lesson in frugal cooking. It wasn't so very long ago that the only form of "broccoli" you could find in the market had fat woody stems and smelled like sulphur when you cooked it.

In Italy the term "broccoli" covers a multitude of sins---but also varieties, especially in the south. Today broccoli rabe/rapini is readily available. Pasquino and his nephew suggest you try this sometime. Typically a dish like this would be made with orecchiette (little ears) but most short pasta forms such as mezze penne will work.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim the rapini and when the water is boiling add a handful of salt and plunge the rapini into the pot. Meanwhile have a large bowl of cold water standing by. After about a minute remove the broccoli rabe from the pot and plunge it in the water to shock it and set the color. Wrap it in towels to dry. SAVE THE WATER YOU'VE BLANCHED THE RAPINI IN.

Take one or two links of hot Italian sausage and remove the sausage from casing and break it into pieces. In a fairly deep 12" pan heat a thin layer of olive oil.Add the sausage to brown, add some chopped garlic to color.

In the same water in which you cooked the broccoli rabe (it should be nice and green)cook your pasta for maybe 9 minutes. Meanwhile add a good splash of red wine to the pan in which you have cooked the pasta and reduce until it almost disappears. Using a long slotted spoon, or ideally a Chinese wire "spider" scoop the pasta and add directly to the pan with the sausage. Add perhaps a splash or two of the water the pasta was cooked in and taste the pasta. If it's ready, season with salt and pepper and a most generous grating of pecorino cheese.

Serve with crusty bread.


1 comment:

Nicole said...

Like it...Simple and delicious..Thanks for the share