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