I could eat broccoli rabe with a side of broccoli rabe- an absolute favorite. My husband could eat pappardelle with a side of pappardelle. 😉 Now you can see why this dish was perfect for our Valentine’s Day dinner! Everyone loved it. ❤
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Kristine Kidd. I modified the proportions and method. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 8 ounces cubed pancetta
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed (I used a mortar & pestle)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 large bunches broccoli rabe (also called rapini; generous 2 pounds), stems sliced 1/2 inch thick, tops cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups water
- 17.64-ounce (500 g) package dried pappardelle pasta
- 2 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus additional for serving
- 1/2 cup raw pine nuts, toasted (@375 degrees for about 5 minutes)
- Heat 4 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet, preferably with a lid, over medium heat. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
- Add garlic and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Discard garlic.
- Add onion, pancetta, and fennel seeds to skillet; sauté until onion is tender and pancetta begins to brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add dried crushed red pepper, then broccoli rabe stems and cook 4 minutes to soften slightly, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in broccoli rabe tops, sprinkle with salt, and add 2 cups water. Cover and cook until stems and tops are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid.
- Add pasta to skillet with broccoli rabe and stir over low heat to combine, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if necessary.
- Stir in 2 cups of the cheese. Season to taste with salt and generous amount of pepper.
- Transfer to shallow bowls, if desired. (I served it in the pot.) Sprinkle with pine nuts and garnish with additional cheese.