Broccoli Rabe With Pasta and Walnuts

Broccoli Rabe with Pasta and Walnuts

If you haven’t had broccoli rabe before, maybe you should give it a try.  I am always surprised at how many people have never tried broccoli rabe- also known as rapini. This versatile vegetable consists of stems, leaves and small florets, with a strong broccoli flavor.

I think perhaps the sometimes strong, even bitter flavor, might turn people away from trying it. I enjoy that bitterness. If you don’t, you can temper it by blanching the broccoli rabe. That’s what we did with this dish. We also paired the broccoli rabe with pasta and some cheese which also mellows out the flavor. We made this dish in cooking class the other night and everyone enjoyed it. even better, none of them had eaten broccoli rabe before class.

Broccoli Rabe with Pasta and Walnuts

1 bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (8 ounce) box uncooked pasta
½ c. walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, sliced- I often add a few more
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the broccoli rabe, and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Return the water to a boil, and stir in the pasta. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite. Drain well in a colander set in the sink. While the pasta is cooking, cook and stir the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set the nuts aside, add the olive oil, and reduce heat to low. Stir in the garlic, and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broccoli rabe, and cook 3 minutes to reheat. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, then stir in the drained pasta and walnuts. Toss with Parmesan cheese before serving. Serves 4.

Broccoli Rabe
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