Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
Matthew Septimus

Ingredients

  •   Coarse salt, to taste
  • 7 Ounces  broccoli rabe (about 10 stalks), thick stems trimmed, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 Pound  orecchiette
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons  olive oil, plus more for the breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Cup  coarse breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
  • cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the heel of the hand
  • 1/8 Teaspoon  red chile pepper flakes
  • anchovy fillets, preferably salt-packed, deboned, rinsed, and chopped
  • 1/3 Pound  pork sausage, casings removed (optional)
  • 6 Tablespoons  grated Pecorino Romano

Orecchiette, which means "little ears" (a reference to their round, concave shape), is a regional symbol of Puglia. Traditionally, orecchiette are homemade. The combination of native, hard-wheat flour, and water (instead of egg) yields a firm-textured pasta.

The orecchiette are sauced with broccoli rabe that is cooked in olive oil seasoned with garlic, red pepper flakes, and chopped anchovy. (Anchovy is often used in combination with broccoli rabe and other bitter greens because the rich, salty flavor of the anchovy mellows the bitter taste of the vegetable.) The dish is finished with grated pecorino, and, classically, with fried breadcrumbs. Crumbled sausage may be added; it also balances the bitterness of the broccoli.

The broccoli rabe is traditionally blanched in the water in which the pasta will be cooked, which serves to infuse the pasta with the flavor of the vegetable.

Click here to see 15 Easy 15-Minute Pasta Recipes.

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Add the broccoli and cook until tender and still juicy, and crushes when pressed between thumb and forefinger, 2-3 minutes. (Do not overcook; the broccoli will cook again in the olive oil.) Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Then, add the orecchiette to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and fry, stirring until golden, about 30 seconds. Set aside on absorbent paper.

Then, combine the oil, garlic, red chile pepper flakes, and chopped anchovy in a large skillet. Place over low heat and cook until the garlic begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. (Or, if using the sausage, cook the garlic for only 1 minute until softened but not colored. Then, add the sausage and cook for 1 minute.)

Drain the pasta, reserving about 2 cups of the cooking water. Add the cooked broccoli rabe to the skillet, season with salt, to taste, and toss. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the drained orecchiette to the skillet with enough reserved pasta water to bathe the pasta. Simmer until most of the water is evaporated and the pasta is cooked. (You should see a little emulsified liquid surrounding the pasta.) Adjust the seasoning to taste. Toss with the cheese. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pasta and serve.

Nutrition

Calories per serving:

334 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Balanced Sugar Conscious, Kidney Friendly, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free

Daily value:

17%

Servings:

4
  • Fat 14g 21%
  • Carbs 40g 13%
  • Saturated 4g 18%
  • Fiber 3g 13%
  • Sugars 2g
  • Monounsaturated 7g
  • Polyunsaturated 2g
  • Protein 13g 26%
  • Cholesterol 15mg 5%
  • Sodium 371mg 15%
  • Calcium 227mg 23%
  • Magnesium 44mg 11%
  • Potassium 236mg 7%
  • Iron 2mg 14%
  • Zinc 2mg 10%
  • Phosphorus 233mg 33%
  • Vitamin A 77µg 9%
  • Vitamin C 11mg 18%
  • Thiamin (B1) 0mg 17%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 0mg 12%
  • Niacin (B3) 3mg 13%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 9%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 64µg 16%
  • Vitamin B12 0µg 3%
  • Vitamin D 0µg 0%
  • Vitamin E 2mg 11%
  • Vitamin K 118µg 147%
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