Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Garlic Toasted Bread Crumbs (Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa)

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Broccoli rabe, or rapini, is a bitter green that comes into season in autumn. It is a member of the turnip family and you will find it at selected greengrocers in bundles of large leaves with broccoli-like flower heads opening into small yellow flowers.   It’s earthy and rustic – a peasant-style Puglia dish to get you through the day.  In Puglia the main meal is lunch at around 1:30. Stores close at 1.  After lunch  they take a nap (penneca) since nothing is open anyway again until 6pm.  Carmen who does my nails at her home always asks what i made for lunch and we talk about food. She gave me her way of doing this classic Puglia dish and went home and made it as it sounded so good!

Ingredients

  • 400g cime di rapa or 1 pound
  • 200g pasta of your choice (the tradition is orecchiette)  I go veggie heavy and pasta light and make up for it all with the fresh pressed olive oil I helped produce.
  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • half cup fresh bread crumbs – at the bread counter in Italy (i make crumbs out of stale bread and keep in freezer)
  • 4 anchovies (optional but they make the flavor jump!)
  • Pinch dried chilli flakes or preferably a whole dry chili broken in half and tossed in
  • Parmesan, grated, to serve
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Wash the Cime di Rapa well, slice the lower part of the stalks into 2-3 cm pieces, keep the leafy tops whole. Drop the greens into the water.  You will add the pasta to the same pot when the Cime is almost done and a knife slices easily through it
  2. Meanwhile gently heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan (must be big enough for the finished dish) and slowly cook the garlic until fragrant but not burning.  Add the bread crumbs and dried chilli, cook gently for 2 minutes until the crumbs are toasted and golden. Cut the heat and save for later
  3. Drain the pasta and greens together when the pasta is still al dente (it will keep cooking as you finish) keeping a cup of the water for later in case it’s too dry.  Dump the drained mixture into the  bread crumb pan, add the anchovies if using and stir it all together fast while on medium heat adding some of the pasta water if needed and drizzle of good olive oil. Serve piled into shallow bowls and finish with plenty of grated Parmesan and more good olive oil.  I love fresh cracked black pepper on everything but in Italy you don’t put chilli peppers and black pepper together ever! But in the end I do what I want and like.

Published by

janescucinaitaliana

Jane Biscarini From Rancho Santa Fe, CA to Rome, Italy to Chattanooga, TN I grew up in the San Diego area, down the street from the now famous Chinos Vegetable Market. We purchased our organic (wasn’t even a term then) veggies there. Their sweet white corn was a summer staple on our table. 20 years later Wolfgang Puck discovered them for his restaurants in Los Angeles and made them famous. Cooking fresh and delicious meals was always a part of my family life. My sisters and I all cooked. Then in my 20’s I discovered Italy- and my future Italian husband (from Milan). We originally moved to Italy to expose the kids (now Marco 22 and Isabella16 years old) to the Italian culture and language. Well, 10 years into it, we lived in Como, Florence ,Rome and my new favorite Puglia (the next Tuscany). At different intervals we have lived a total of a year with my Italian sister and mother in law, learning and integrating their cooking secrets from Lombardia, Liguria, and Piemonte. Our last year was spent in Puglia – Manfredonia to be exact- (not Macedonia although we kept slipping the tongue and saying that for months) a charming seaside town that is a new favorite and a foodie indulgence! I Completed a professional chef course for Italian cuisine in Terni (Umbria region) 2012. I taught Italian cooking classes for 3 years in Rome- to other foreigners, American embassy staff and secret service. For our work in Rome I prepared at least 2 lunches/dinners a week for Italians and this is what they say in their words: I have tasted many times the dishes prepared by Jane and I can say only this thing: “I’didn’t know that an American lady – I’m an Italian family – part time cook - could make so many tipbits of Italian, American, Mexican cooking, and the dishes are so good that I had to change my opinion about the quality of American food, and about the way used to combine various ingredients to obtain excellent results. Jane deserves a lot of congratulations for her work , for her commitment and for her passion!” Unforgettable her pumpkin soup and her New York cheese-cake, but also “amatriciana pasta” and “lasagna”! I never thought that an American pretty lady could teach me so much! Patrizia- Roma Hi, my name is Laura, I am italian and I live in Rome where I had known Jane since 3 years ago , so I have had the opportunity to go to her nice house many times and to appreciate her as hostess and good cook. Jane is able to cook perfectly every type of food, American, Mexican, Oriental but, above all, she is able to cook… Italian food better than an Italian!!!! It’s not easy to pass the exam of the “verdict” of Italians about different kinds of pasta, pizza, melanzane alla parmigiana, gnocchi and so on, but she is a great cook and she knows how to propose them in the best way as well. And in several occasions it happened that we – her Italian friends – asked her to give us the correct recipes! So I think you are lucky to have Jane as your cooking teacher, I am sure she ‘ll become one of your good friends too, and you’ll enjoy her cooking lessons! Laura Garassini Ho avuto modo di gustare la cucina di Jane, debbo dire che oltre ad essere meravigliosamente presentata i gusti non sono buoni, ma FANTASTICI!! Silvano Ferraro Translation: I had the chance to taste Jane’s cooking. I must say that on top of serving beautifully prepared dishes, their tastes are not good but fantastic! Per mia fortuna ho mangiato diverse volte cibo cucinato da Jane! E’ una esperienza sempre interessante per il palato e per la propria cultura gastronomica: Jane riesce, con poco e con grazia, a creare sapori perfetti che conducono in un viaggio sensoriale dalla tradizione italiana all’esperienza esotica… dove la certezza del buono si accompagna alla scoperta di nuovi gusti! Rosalba Translation: In my good fortune I have eaten Jane’s cooking various times. It is always an experience interesting for the palate and for the true cultural gastronomy. Jane can, with little and with grace, create the perfect flavors that conduct a voyage of the senses from the traditional Italian to the exotic experience…where the certainty of goodness is accompanied by the discovery of new flavors! Cara jane, ormai cucini così bene che meriteresti la cittadinanza italiana onoraria!!! Baci Gianluca Ievolella Translation: Now you cook so well that you deserve the honorary Italian citizenship!

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