A speedy pasta from Puglia – Whole Wheat Pasta with Rapini

Cooking up a pasta dish doesn’t get much faster than this one.  It’s a traditional combination from Puglia, a region of Italy that offers some of the best examples of cucina povera – the cooking of the poor.  Science is shows, though, that it offers an astounding wealth of health promoting benefits.

I visited the region twice on trips with Oldways Exchange Trust to sample the true Mediterranean diet. And I have to say, what an incredible way to learn.

While the traditional pasta used  is orecchiette , meaning small ear, I have substituted another short pasta in in this version  from  my book, The Enlightened Eater’s Whole Foods Guide (Viking Canada), as I have yet to see any whole wheat orecchiette.

A member of the Brassica family along with its kissin’ cousins, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, rapini, or broccoli rabe, as it’s also known, is packed with an array of anti-cancer compounds along with antioxidants. Its carotenoids, or pigments, promote artery health and are linked to maintaining healthy vision.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Rapini

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) anchovy paste
3/4 pound (375 g) whole wheat penne or other short pasta
2 bunches rapini or broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped (or substitute broccoli)
1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup (50 mL)  freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until beginning to soften about 8 – 10 minutes. Add rapini and cook until pasta is just tender, another 3 to 5 minutes.   Drain.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until beginning  to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in anchovy paste until mixed into oil and garlic. Keep warm.

Place pasta and rapini in large bowl; toss with the oil and garlic mixture.  Sprinkle cheeses over and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving
•    Calories: 291
•    Protein: 14 g
•    Fat: 7 g
•    Saturated fat: 2 g
•    Carbohydrate: 47 g
•    Dietary fibre: 5 g
•    Sodium: 199 mg

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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