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
large bunch rapini (broccoli rabe), cleaned, ends trimmed, chopped into thirds
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.
Refill pot with more water, add several pinches of salt, and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine mascarpone, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
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.
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.
I'm a healthcare consultant by day, food blogger by night, and I make a mean veggie chili. I'm eat a mostly-vegetarian diet, but have a soft spot for meat, especially braised short ribs. And this profile wouldn't be complete without an admission that I absolutely am addicted to cookies and chocolate. Finally, I love the idea of food52 and can't wait to share and read my and others' favorite recipes!