Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
This delicious pasta dish is simple yet deceptively flavorful. It's perfect when you stumble upon a fresh bunch of broccoli rabe at the farmer's market.
1 lb. Orecchiette pasta
1 lb. broccoli rabe (also called rapini)
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 tsp.
large pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp. anchovy paste
1/4 cup slivered almonds
12-16 slices of pancetta
2 tsp. salt, plus more to season to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper
In a deep skillet large enough to hold all the pasta and sauce, fry the pancetta slices with the 1 tsp. olive oil until very crisp. Remove to a paper towel. Turn off the heat, but reserve the oil in the skillet.
In a small skillet, toast the slivered almonds over medium high heat, shaking often, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Bring a large pot, filled three-quarters full of water, to a boil. Add 2 tsp. salt to the boiling water. Prepare the broccoli rabe by trimming off the tough ends of the stems. Chop the rabe into 1-inch pieces and wash in a colander. Add the chopped rabe to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the cooked rabe with a skimmer or slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. Keep the water at a boil for the pasta.
Add the orecchiette to the boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in the deep skillet. Saute the garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovy paste over medium-high heat until the garlic is just barely golden brown. Add the broccoli rabe (and any of its cooking juices that might be in its bowl) and cook for another couple minutes, stirring often. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with the rabe, with the skillet on medium heat. Add a little of the reserved pasta water, if necessary. Serve immediately, sprinkling slivered almonds and parmesan on the pasta, then breaking up a few fried pancetta slices on top of each serving of pasta.
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