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A Locavore's Perfect Weekday Pasta

Orecchiette and Broccoli Rabe with Cherry Tomatoes
Opposites attract. And so today, as summer meets early fall, I’m celebrating the play of sweet and bitter. This dish pairs broccoli rabe, a tangy relative of the turnip, with candy-like cherry tomatoes.  They mingle happily on neutral turf — orecchiette, a pasta translated as “little ears,” which catches all the bits and pieces. Some supermarkets and most gourmet shops carry orecchiette, but if you can’t find it use shells. I used heirloom red and yellow tomatoes from my neighboring Taft Farms. Wow. Makes 4 servings

2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 pound orecchiette (pasta)
1 bunch broccoli rabe
¼ cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red peppers, to taste
3/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1. Quarter cherry tomatoes and mince garlic. Cut off tough ends of the broccoli rabe, then cut it all, stems and leaves into l inch pieces. Set them all aside.

2. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of generously salted water to a rapid boil. Throw in pasta and cook until almost ready, just a tiny touch too firm. Stir in the broccoli. Continue to cook for l minute, then drain.

3. Immediately add the oil, garlic, crushed hot red peppers and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir continuously, just until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute tops. Add the tomatoes and stir, just until warm.

4. Add the drained pasta and broccoli rabe back to the pot and toss with the tomato mixture and about ½ the cheese. If needed, season with additional salt and extra hot chili pepper flakes to taste. Serve in warm bowls, sprinkled with the remaining cheese

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