Whole-Wheat Fettuccine With Spicy Broccoli Rabe
Nutty, chewy whole-wheat noodles have the character to stand up the bitterness of this spicy, braised broccoli rabe. This dish will come together in short order, once you have your fresh whole grain pasta ready. Top it off with a generous showering of ricotta salata to balance the bold flavors with a little creaminess. This recipe makes more than you need, so freeze the rest and cook as normal for a hearty, satisfying meal in the days and weeks to come. (And check out Cooking's How to Make Pasta guide for more tips and video.)
- Serves: 4 persons
- Basic fresh pasta dough, whole grain variation, cut into sheets (see recipe)
- 1pound broccoli rabe
- 4tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1medium yellow onion, finely diced
- Fine sea salt or kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
- ½teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3cloves garlic, minced
- 1cup freshly grated ricotta salata (about 2 ounces)
Step 1Lightly dust a sheet of pasta with semolina flour, then loosely roll lengthwise into thirds lengthwise, like folding a letter. Cut noodles in 1/2-inch increments with a sharp knife. Shake off the excess semolina, and repeat with remaining pasta sheets. Form pasta into small nests (about 3 ounces per portion) on the prepared baking sheets.
Step 2Set a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, add onion and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until onions are tender and lightly golden.
Step 3Trim woody ends from broccoli rabe and discard. Slice the stems and leaves into 1/2-inch pieces.
Step 4Add broccoli rabe, red pepper flakes, a generous pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons water. Use tongs to turn greens until evenly wilted. Cook, stirring occasionally, until water cooks away and broccoli rabe is tender, sweet, and starting to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. As broccoli cooks, set a large pot filled with 5 quarts of water over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Add 6 tablespoons fine sea salt or 1/2 cup kosher salt. Set a colander in the sink.
Step 5Move broccoli rabe to the edges of the pot and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic and allow it to gently sizzle until it releases an aroma, about 20 seconds. Before the garlic has a chance to start browning, stir it into the greens.
Step 6Add 4 portions pasta to the water and stir. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
Step 7Add pasta and 1/4 cup cooking water to the broccoli rabe and toss. Continue cooking over medium heat for 1 minute, tossing continuously with tongs. If the pasta looks dry, add a little more pasta water. It should be slightly wetter than you are comfortable with, because the pasta will continue to absorb sauce even after you pull it from the heat. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Serve immediately, with grated ricotta salata.