We don't watch all that much TV in our house, but we each have a show or two that we really enjoy. One show that I really enjoy, but seldom actually watch, is Lidia's Italy, a PBS cooking show that airs on Saturday afternoons. I love watching her cook, and her recipes always look fantastic. And attainable. I kid you not, I want Lidia to adopt me. Anyway, I happened to catch Lidia's show this last Saturday, and the show was all about pasta. All three recipes that she made looked great, but her simple broccoli rabe pasta recipe just looked so fresh and so good, that I knew I wanted to make it this week.
I have never tried broccoli rabe before, but am always game to try new vegetables, so I specifically added it to this week's shopping list.
The recipe, which I remembered from the show, but also found online here, is very simple, and only has four ingredients - extra virgin olive oil, garlic (and plenty of it!), brocolli rabe and pasta. The prep is just as easy as the ingredient list, and the whole thing came together pretty quickly.
Little miss was game to taste the broccoli rabe, so I gave her some raw after I washed it. She seemed to enjoy it, so I was very encouraged. The recipe calls for penne pasta, but I always let little miss choose our pasta shapes (I usually hold up two or three different shape options and let her pick between those, so I still have a little say in the matter...), and tonight she picked rotini over penne. Still a great shape, still a pasta that holds its sauce (or whatever you put with it) rather well, so I was cool with it.
I have to say, I am so glad that I tried this. The pasta was so easy to prepare, and tasted really fresh and delicious. I will definitely be adding broccoli rabe to the vegetable rotation around here. Little miss was less thrilled with the cooked broccoli rabe than she was with it raw, but that might be because it was mixed together with the pasta, and I think she is entering the "I need to separate all of the different elements of my meal" phase of childhood... but she still ate it, so I count it as a success.
The only change I made, by the way, was with the garnish. The recipe says to top the pasta with parmesan or pecorino cheese, but, somehow, we ran out of parmesan cheese, so I chose extra sharp cheddar instead. I may do that on purpose next time, because it went really well.
Definitely worth a try.
Pasta with Broccoli Rabe
(from Amateur Gourmet, from Lidia's Italy)
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, slivered
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 pound pasta (penne or rotini)
Cook the pasta as per the package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, toast the sliced garlic in the olive oil.
Clean the broccoli rabe by dunking it into a bowl of cold water. You may need to empty and refill the water, depending on how long it takes until dirt is no longer released as you dunk. Cut the bottoms off of the stems and discard them, then cut the broccoli rabe into approximately 1/2 inch-1 inch pieces.
Once the garlic has toasted and is slightly golden, add the broccoli rabe to the pan. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, then cover the pan, reducing the heat a bit.
After about two minutes, lift the lid, stir, then replace the lid. If the broccoli rabe seems a bit dry, add a little bit of the pasta water and stir again. It should be fully cooked within about 6 minutes.
Serve over pasta. Sprinkle with grated cheese (parmesan, pecorino or, in my case, cheddar!)