Orecchiette con le Cime di Rapa or Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

Ingredients

  • Orecchiette pasta
  • Olive oil 
  • Anchovies in olive oil (50g jar)
  • Capers (50g jar)
  • Garlic (1 or 2 cloves)
  • Dried red pepper or flakes

Preparation

  1. First you want to clean the broccoli rabe.  Trimming away most of the leaves and leaving the florets and a bit of the stalk.  We do keep some of the leaves on closest to the florets. 
  2. Boil a big pot of water (enough to hold the broccoli and the pasta together) and make it salty like the sea. 
  3.  If you are using fresh pasta:  put the broccoli rabe in to boil.  Set a timer for 5 minutes and then add the pasta for another 5 minutes.  
  4. If you are using dried pasta: check the box for the time.  Most orecchiette is about 10 minutes so then you would put the broccoli and the pasta in together.  Either way the broccoli needs to cook  for 10 minutes.  So if the pasta time is 12 minutes let the pasta cook for 2 minutes then add the broccoli.  You get the picture. 
  5. While the pasta and broccoli cook add a healthy glug or 2 of olive oil into a medium hot pan.  Add the whole garlic cloves and red peppers.  Make it as spicy as you like.  
  6. Add the anchovies and let them melt down until they are just a part of the sauce.  Rinse the excess salt off of the capers and add them into the mix allowing all of the ingredients to lightly simmer together until the pasta and broccoli are finished.
  7. When they finish, set aside a cup or so of the pasta water and then drain the pasta and broccoli and add them to the anchovy caper mixture.  
  8. Add a small amount of pasta water to the pan and let it cook together adding additional pasta water if you want until you reach the desired level of sauciness.
  9. Plate it up! I like parmesan on mine and my husband puts bottarga on his. So, top if you want, as you like.

Tips

Make sure to remove the whole chunks of garlic before plating.  They tend to blend in with this style of pasta and you could get a big garlicky surprise.  Also, unpopular opinion time but I love this pasta left over and cold the next day as a pasta salad.  

This pasta is the first dish my husband ever made me.  It was the first time I had ever eaten anchovies (that I knew of, turns out they are in everything) and I was super nervous about it.  It was AMAZING and I was super wow'd by this man who seemed to do it all.  This dish is a staple from his region of Puglia and now a staple at our table.  Its easy, low ingredient and delicious.  If you are on the fence about adding anchovies to your food, TRY IT! It will really knock your home cooking up a level or two.