Broccoli Rabe with Orecchiette, Hazelnuts, and Creamy Lemon Sauce

By • January 15, 2010 • 0 Comments



Author Notes: I took inspiration from Mark Bittman, who once wrote a post encouraging some pasta with your vegetables instead of the reverse. Also, credit goes to the Kitchn site, which once posted a great-looking recipe for pasta and spinach with lemon-mascarpone sauce that stuck with me until now. Orecchiette are a traditional pairing for broccoli, but the rapini in this recipe combines quite well with the pasta, and the tangy, creamy sauce offsets its bitterness nicely.Rivka

Serves 2

  • 1 large bunch rapini (broccoli rabe), cleaned, ends trimmed, chopped into thirds
  • 1 1/2 cup orecchiette
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed meyer lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  1. In a large sauce pan, bring plenty of water (at least 6 cups) to a boil. Add broccoli rabe, cover pot, and blanch about 1 1/2 minutes, until firm but tender and still very green. Remove greens and shock in an ice bath to stop cooking.
  2. Refill pot with more water, add several pinches of salt, and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, combine mascarpone, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Drain pasta about 1 or 2 minutes before it's done, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Transfer pasta to a large saute pan, turn the heat to low, and add butter and broccoli rabe. Toss to combine and heat through.
  5. Add mascarpone mixture and again, stir to incorporate, so that each piece of pasta and broccoli gets coated in a bit of the mascarpone sauce. Add hazelnuts; transfer to plates, top with grated cheese, and serve immediately.
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