A speedy pasta from Puglia – Orecchiette with Rapini

In my last post on the Scientific Consensus Conference on the Healthy Pasta Meal, I called pasta a fast food. Well,  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 where for economic reasons, meals were based on plant foods. It’s a dish I enjoyed over and over on fabulous conferences in the region organized by Boston-based Oldways.

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.

Orecchiette with Rapini

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 anchovies (packed in oil), rinsed and mashed
3/4 pound (375 g)  orecchiette  or whole wheat penne
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: 4 g
•    Sodium: 199 mg

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

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

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