Orecchiette is this cute little ear-shaped pasta that I use in one of my favorite dishes. My husband got the recipe from an old Italian roommate of his and it was the first meal he cooked for me. I was also the first time I had ever had broccoli rabe. I fell in love. I love it almost as much as arugula. The broccoli rabe that is. My husband does actually place before arugula in my heirarchy of awesome.
The dish also has anchovies in it. Don’t be afraid. And don’t skip them. They add a fabulous briny, rich taste to the sauce that compliments the bitter broccoli rabe perfectly. Plus, Michael Pollan says to eat your little fishies, and you can’t argue with him.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
Recipe by some Italian guy
1 pound orecchiette pasta (De Cecco is the only store brand I’ve seen that makes it. If you can’t find it, I think farfelle would be a good substitute.)
1-2 bunches of broccoli rabe, washed and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 4 ounce tin of anchovies. If they are really firm, you might want to give them a coarse dice before adding them just to help them disintegrate.
1/4 cup or so of olive oil
4 or so garlic cloves, finely minced
good size pinch of red pepper flakes
In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to the package, and drain, reserving a half cup or so of pasta water.
While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and saute for a couple minutes, until the garlic is golden brown. Add the anchovies, stirring to help them break down.
Add the broccoli rabe, tossing with the oil so it wilts. Cook for a few minutes until it is completely incorporated with the oil and has wilted. Add a little bit of the pasta water if it looks dry.
Toss with the orecchiette and serve with lots of parmesan cheese.