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Posts Tagged ‘broccoli rabe’

Tasty Tidbits Tuesday has been missing in action more often than I would like to admit.  I made the pasta dish I featured a week or so ago – the Penne with Cauliflower and Swiss Chard.  OMG, I have to tell you it was sooooooo delicious.  It had a delightfully light flavoring yet strong enough that you could savor every bite.  I admit I couldn’t taste the  Swiss Chard but since it added a different texture and the goodness of a dark leafy green vegetable, I was happy it was in it.

Actually it wasn’t the ingredients as much as it was the cooking technique that brought such flavor into every mouthful.  If you recall, the cauliflower was blanched for 3 minutes in the pot of boiling water that would also be used to cook the pasta.  So when the pasta was cooking in the water that the cauliflower had been in, it absorbed a light flavor that was as I said, delicious!  

Well my passion for pasta got me thinking about how many of my Tuesday recipes were pasta dishes and so I’ve decided to make a new category on the blog; We Called It Macaroni.  And I’m going to be publishing a LOT of pasta recipes! I’m no Lydia however, I’m taking on the job of educating my readers to the joys of Italian cooking, particularly PASTA, and taking them beyond red sauce and meatballs!  You can now search the blog category We Called It Macaroni for any of the pasta recipes published previously.  “Mangia”

Lovely light and flavorful pasta dish.

Lovely light and flavorful pasta dish.

Orchiette with Brocolie Rabe, Oregano and Lemon

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3/4 orchiette or other small pasta shape

1 bunch broccoli rabe (1 lb) – trimmed, cut into 1 1/2 ” pieces

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 TBS fresh oregano leaves, for serving

2-3 TBS fresh lemon juice , for serving

In  a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to directions, adding broccoli rate 4 minutes before the end of cooking.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle, 2 minutes.  

Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot.  Add oil mixture and toss to coat;  season to taste with salt and pepper.  * I always sprinkle a little Peccorino-Romano or other Italian grating cheese on top of my pasta dishes

To  serve, sprinkle oregano over pasta and drizzle with lemon juice.

** As you can see, this recipe uses only olive oil as the sauce for the pasta dish;  Therefore you should definitely use the small pasta shapes such as orchiette and secondly when I see a recipe calling for so little sauce I often save a cupful of the pasta water to add to the sauce. Also I would use as many garlic cloves as I wished and just shake the red pepper flakes in and not measure.

***  You can also add cherry tomatoes with the garlic and cook them till they burst, add yet another dimension of flavor and texture to your dish.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food

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Short Pasta

The Many Moods of Macaroni

I consider myself a good cook, however, tonight I proved that corollary wrong!  I improvised a recipe and even as I was doing it, I knew it wasn’t going to be good.  And it was a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish.  I had it in mind to make a pasta dish tonight that I had seen in Martha Stewart‘s everyday Food.  

The dish is Orrechiette with broccoli rabe, oregano and lemon.  It’s simple, easy and quick to make and I thought it was the perfect dish to make tonight as I was out all day and didn’t want to prepare something that needed a lot of prep or ingredients.

Here’s the recipe:

3/4 # of orrechiette

1 bunch of broccoli rabe (about 1#) trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves thinly sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 TBS fresh oregano leaves for serving

2-3 TBS fresh lemon juice for serving

Cook pasta according to directions , adding broccoli rabe 4 minutes before pasta is done.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium heat till garlic begins to sizzle.

Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot.  Add oil mixture and toss to coat; season with coarse salt and pepper.  To serve, sprinkle oregano over pasta and drizzle with lemon juice.

It was really tasty and certainly easy to prepare.  Here’s where I made my mistake and I did know better;  When a recipe calls for a certain type and shape of macaroni (pasta to you all), there’s a reason.  This is a weekly debate in our house as my husband (who is not Italian) only likes linguine.  Seriously he likes linguine with any and all kinds of sauces.  Different shapes have different densities and are able to hold the sauce better than others.  Some penne have lines like penne rigate as opposed to ziti and the sauce will cling to one and not the other.

This recipe called for orrechiette (little ears) and they are small, slightly dense and concave.  I love Wegman’s Food store, you all know that already, but lately I have a gripe with them;  Over that last six months, Wegman’s has been eliminating the shelf space allotted to Barilla (my absolute favorite)  and DeCecco brand of pasta and filling the shelves with their own brand.  So when I looked for Barilla’s orrechiette there wasn’t any.  In fact, even in the Wegman’s pasta, super pasta and whole wheat pasta sections, there weren’t any orrechiette.  BUT, in their Wegman’s Classic Italian line which comes in all kinds of exotic shapes and is packaged in a clear cellophane bag, they did have orrechiette BUT that pasta line is priced in the $3.00+ category and I just couldn’t justify spending that much on the pasta itself.  MISTAKE! Well not really, I should have gone elsewhere.  Instead, I cruised the aisle back and forth and back and forth trying to discern what other shape might be substitutable for the little ears.  There really wasn’t anything and I settled on some very small penne regate that Barilla calls Piccolini Penne and it cooks in 7 minutes.  The end result was that the penne cooked very quickly and even though I tried to cook it according to the package directions (something I NEVER do) and add the rabe at the right moment, the penne were a little soft.  We like our pasta al dente, the orrechiette would have been perfect.  So I saved some money and made a dish that was tasty but could have been fantastic. 

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