This is an update on the rabe recipe I had on this web site before. I've made some major improvements to this dish by way of experimentation. I've removed the old recipe because this one is so much better.
If you're on the east or west coast, you may know what rabe is. It also goes by the names of rappini and bitter broccoli. It is basically a sort of wild broccoli with more leaves than flowers with a nut-like, green taste. I've found that rabe will freeze really well, once cleaned, and will be even more manageable when added to the sauté' skillet. When this is made correctly, it is so tasty that you will have regular cravings for it afterwards...believe me, you will...there's no way around it. I'm addicted to it.
* 2 Bunches of Rabe
* Olive Oil
* 2 Medium Cloves of Garlic
* Half a Hand-Full of Piniollis (Pine Nuts)
* Fresh Sliced Mushrooms (the amount depends on how much you like mushrooms)
* Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
* Salt & Pepper
* 1/2 pound of Orchiette ...or other hat shaped pasta. Be sure it's good quality (made with Semolina).
* Romano Cheese
Boil your water for the pasta. Be sure to add salt. Pasta cooked without salt doesn't taste right, and there's nothing you can do about it afterwards. Also add a little olive oil to the water so the noodles don't stick to each other. If you actually find orchiette, then you will need this oil because this pasta is thick and can become sticky if not watched closely and stirred frequently.
Trim all the stems off of the rabe.
Pour a liberal amount of olive oil in bottom of large skillet. Slice the garlic and fry it in the oil...as always, do not let it burn because it will become bitter. Add the pine nuts to this oil as well.
Add the vegetable and sauté in the oil while adding the salt (quite a bit of salt), black pepper, and a fairly generous amount of red pepper flakes. Add a bit of water to help cook the vegetable. Rabe is kind of tough and leafy so let it cook about 15 or 20 minutes.
As for the mushrooms - I prefer the ordinary, everyday mushroom and I like to use a LOT of them. They add so much flavor, but the trick is to sauté them separately so they keep their integrity and and their own separate flavor.
When you drain the pasta, leave a little of the water in the pot because the oil is going to mix with it to form the sauce. Combine the vegetable mixture with the orchietti. Make sure it's not too dry, yet not soppy wet either. If you didn't cook with enough oil, add some more to it now to get the correct consistency. Add the mushrooms on top.
Sprinkle generously with Romano cheese.
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