I have had this recipe printed out and awaiting execution for a while now. I finally made it! One of the best parts of this dish is the wonderful shape of the macaroni. How couldn’t you love eating something that translates as “little ears?” These little discs (orecchiette) are nuggets of chewy deliciousness. And because I am a lover of all greens bitter (the more bitter the better) I truly enjoyed this dish. There is something so peasant-like about it. Very simple. Very nourishing. I like to imagine my ancestors in Italy feasting on this bowl of little ears!
One thing, however, I would suggest is to start with more garlic and more red pepper flakes. Also, I would add two cups of chicken broth for maximum tastiness!
Orecchettie with Broccoli Rabe:
- 1 /3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 lb. trimmed broccoli rabe
- 1 lb. dried orecchiette
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cheese, freshly grated
In a large pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is tender. Set aside.
Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until just tender. Using tongs, lift out and transfer to the ice water to shock. Leave the pot of water over high heat. Drain the broccoli rabe well and squeeze gently to remove water. Chop into pieces.
Add the pasta to the boiling water used to cook the broccoli rabe, and cook until al dente or according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, add the broccoli rabe to the pan holding the garlic. Return to medium heat, season generously with salt, pepper, additional red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is hot throughout. (This is where you may also add 2 cups of chicken broth.)
Look at those bright beautiful bitter greens! The sight of them makes me salivate!
Drain the pasta and return to the warm pot. Add the garlic/oil/rabe and incorporate with pasta. Top with grated cheese and serve.