California Central Coast Recipes
Orecchiette with Rapini is an easy pasta to throw together and is a classic Italian-style vegetarian pasta. This pasta combines the flavors of blanched Rapini, with lightly-cooked garlic, bread crumbs and olive oil. Pretty basic, but a surprisingly flavorful punch -especially when you top it off with some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and serve with a flavorful glass of wine!
Rapini, also known as Broccoli Rabe, has a broccoli taste with a little bit of a zip to it -kind of a horseradish bite. It is a bit of an acquired taste. Blanching the rapini definitely takes a bit of the bite out, but If you want to make the recipe with a bit milder taste instead of over cooking your rapini, try broccolini or even straight broccoli, both work equally well in this recipe.
Preparation time: 15 minutesCooking time: 15 minutes
1 pound Rapini chopped into 1 to 2 inch pieces
6 oz Orecchiette
1 cup Coarsely Chopped Bread Crumbs
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan Cheese grated for topping the pasta
1 Wash the rapini and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Separate the the stalk pieces from the leaves and florets.
2 Place on high heat, a large pasta pot or stockpot filled with hot water. When it comes to a boil, add one tablespoon salt to the water.
3 Add the rapini stalk pieces to the pasta water and blanch for 2 minutes. Next add the tender florets and leaves and blanch 1 minutes more or until tender. Remove from the water, but do not discard the pasta water.
4 Bring the pasta water back to boil and add the Orecchiette. Cook according to directions or until al dente (about 10 minutes).
5 While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet or sauce pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat until fragrant. Add the bread crumbs and saute until golden. Next add the sliced garlic and cook just until translucent and fragrant. Lower the heat and add the blanched rapini. Gently toss the rapini with the bread crumbs and garlic and cook just long enough to heat the rapini through.
6 When the pasta is done, drain well and add to the rapini mixture and toss well. Serve immediately with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese passed on the side.
Rapini has a mild horseradishy- broccoli taste, so any low tannin wine will work well with this recipe. Try a chilled Rhone white blend, a young Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry Alsatian style Riesling.