ORECCHIETTE CON LE CIME DI RAPA (ORECCHIETTE WITH BROCCOLI RABE or RAPINI)
INGREDIENTS (for 4 people):
• 1 Lb (450gr) of Orecchiette Pasta, dried or fresh.
• 2.2Lb (1Kg) of broccoli rabe
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 3 anchovy fillets in oil
• 2 red hot chili peppers
• 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil + more for dressing orecchiette pasta
• 3 tablespoons of breadcrumb
Clean the broccoli rabe by removing the thicker outer leaves and tougher stems. Then wash them well in cold water to remove scraps and impurities. Use the most tender parts of both the leaves and the “cimette” (florets). Drain well and set aside.
Heat garlic and chili pepper in a large skillet with 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Sauté the garlic together with the chili pepper, making sure they don’t burn.
After 2/3 minutes, add the anchovy fillets and melt them in the hot oil. Remove garlic and chili pepper and take away the skillet from heat and set aside.
Pour a drop of oil into a pan and then add 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, not too finely chopped. Toast it over medium heat until the bread has completely absorbed the oil and is crispy.
Boil water with coarse salt in a very large pot, so that it can contain both orecchiette and broccoli rabe. Using the same cooking water allows you to further flavor the pasta as it will absorb the flavor of the broccoli rabe.
If you are using DRIED ORECCHIETTE, their cooking time is about 10 minutes: boil the orecchiette and after 5 minutes add the broccoli rabe.
But if you are using FRESH ORECCHIETTE, their cooking time is shorter: cook them together with the broccoli rabe for 6/7 minutes.
Drain the orecchiette with broccoli rabe and transfer them to the pan with oil and anchovies.
Pan-fry them for a few minutes, just to dry the excess water. Stir with a spoon using a round of extra virgin olive oil but try not to break the broccoli rabe too much: they must remain leafy.
Sprinkle crispy breadcrumb generously on the finished dish. The bread gives a crunchy note to this very delicious recipe!