Pasta, Noodles, and Dumplings The Book

39. Penne with Broccoli Rabe p.206

I can’t find an Epicurious recipe for this one. If I had this might have been a 4.5 mushroom dish, but I can’t bear not to share this simple flavourful Tuesday night supper with the world. Here it is.

2 pounds broccoli rabe
1 pound penne
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

Accompaniment: finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Trim and discard any yellow or coarse leaves and tough stem ends from broccoli rabe. Cut off florets and reserve. Cut stems and leaves crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces. Wash stems, leaves, and florets and drain in a colander. Cook Broccoli rabe in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt per every 4 quarts water) until stems are tender, about 5 minutes; drain.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring until garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe and salt to taste, increase heat to moderately high, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes.

Drain pasta and toss with broccoli rabe until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and serve with cheese.

Broccoli rabe is usually sold as rapini here. I don’t think I’d ever tried it before I met my dining companion. She adores all bitter greens, but rapini is her special favourite. It looks quite a bit like leafy broccoli, and has a similar taste, but with a serious bite. Apparently it’s a member of the turnip family, and some of that sharp flavour comes through. Rapini was definitely the vegetable find of 2006 for me. We eat it quite regularly, and I hope that I’m getting the touch. It’s a bit tricky because it has tough fibrous stalks, and relatively more delicate leaves. The idea is to get the stalks tender, without overdoing the leaves. More than once I’ve stopped early (inedible stalks), or gone too far (nasty yellowish leaves, and a bit of a sulfurous funk). I think I’ve got the hang of it now, and the 5 minute mark set in this recipe is right on the money. The photo is proof that it came out a vibrant green, and I assure you that it was toothsome and not a bit mushy.

For a recipe I’m giving a 5 mushroom rating to, it’s horribly written. It wasn’t at all clear to me what I was supposed to do with the florrets that I’d reserved. Were they meant to go in to boil with the stalks? possibly. Perhaps then they are the broccoli rabe that goes into the pan with the garlic and oil? Would have been nice to specify it. Does that mean that the boiled stalks go into the pan as well as florets? Perhaps reserve the florets, meant reserve for another purpose. Who knows. Anyway, I boiled the stalks, cooked the garlic and red pepper flakes, then added the stalks to the garlic, cooked for a bit and tossed with the pasta. I forgot my little bowl of florets on the counter and they never made it into the dish at all.

I guess the recipe is pretty tolerant, and it is delicious. Do what you will with the florets, but do make this dish.


I'm a graduate student in Montreal. I spend most of my time studying drug addiction using brain imaging techniques. I'm also a foodie, exploring the culinary world both in and out of my kitchen.

24 replies on “39. Penne with Broccoli Rabe p.206”

AL, there are plenty of artery clogging old-school meat-fests to come. Don’t you worry.

DYE! glad you’re enjoying it! I’m going to have a dinner party for the improv crowd soon… be there.

“dinner companion”?! KC what is the matter with you? Are you some old-world philanderer who as to hide the identity of his mistress? The writing on this blog kills me. Keep it up.

shhh MVB hasn’t cracked my super subtle “dining companion” code yet. Keep it on the down-low.

Timmy, KC wrote “dining companion” not “dinner companion.” If you’re going to accuse him, at least get your facts straights.

KC likes to keep an air of mystery about the site. This way, should any unsuspecting demoiselles peruse the site, they will be seduced by his old-world charm and ambiguous bachelorhood status. For all his readers know, this “dining companion” could be a spinster aunt who requires copious amounts of bitter greens for better bowels.

He once referred to his dining companion as ‘handsome’ once, this would confirm the spinster aunt story.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m really going to hit my stride in my 50’s.

I’m really glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the link, the prosciutto sounds like a great addition to this dish.

To: the man that cooked the stalks of the broccoli rape and did not use the florets.I would like to illuminate you a little in this matter.The florets are the main things.the stalks, you peal them . Discard the bottom part that feels hard.( the thicker is the stalk the tender would be).Use also the 2 or 4 leaves closer to the head; the darker the leaves; the better they could find the wild counterpart in any grazing land in May; while driving you car you’ll see all those little yellow florets; but:(they good only the first 2 weeks of April) in the side of the road and in the land;those, are the one we call Rappini…..Beside the Prosciutto; you could use Pancetta.I cook this dish often.Love it!hope this help. ciao!

hello to everyone;I am italian i love to cook,i want to share broccoli-ruppini with all. remove half centimeter from the bottom of stalks(make a roll, una cut seven plants ready),keep going till you finish. disconnect four inches, ten centimeter from each small bundle,of the stalks, rinse twice save on the side. take a small pot, large bottom, tall side. poor in tree cups of drinking water,(720ml), put the cover,bring to boil. go back to the top part of rappino, rinze twice in two gal of water. the moment the water is boiling add the large part of stalks, put the cover, cook for three minutes, now get the top part of rappino, and drop in the pot where we are cooking, only for three minutes more. we had a frin pen diameter 30 cm,12 inches, the side is 7 cm,3 inches high, with 120ml half cup of oil, one had of garlic in slices. the oil was hot, and cooking the garlic. remove the rappino only, dispose flat over the garlic, put the cover, and finish cooking two more minutes. on the stove we also had a pot of water,one gallon,the fire was on,when the water start to boil 400 gr di pasta Barilla Omega-3,cook esactely 9 minutes,drain it , dump in the same place with rappino, add now40 ml of row olive oil, turn the pasta few time.

I did not add cheese to. Make sure you put locatelli cheese on top. When you serve the food, the dishes must be hot,only in doing so , the food will stay hot. attachement for #18 ED

I am just curious what CMS your website uses? This seems really good and I like every one of the website visitor options which are available. I’m sorry if this really is the incorrect place to ask this however I was not sure the right way to contact you – thanks.

This site uses WordPress. The various options (email notifications, sharing, recent comments) are all freely-available WordPress plug-ins. The statistics page is a custom-written plug-in.

Hope that helps.

I think this may be a well-written bit of spam commenting: “I am just curious what CMS your website uses?…”

I just got an identical comment on my own site (and found this by putting some of it in google surrounded by quotes).

Following the links from it it led me to something that eventually started advertising “meds” at me…

I was going to delete it but hey – the comment above has no links so your not giving them anything, so leaving both it and this comment might help others.

Feel free to delete this (and the above) of course!

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