“Spring is here and I am more than ready to give my soups and stew a little vacation. Now I’m not suggesting that we completely forfeit the comfort food classics, but with the warm weather upon us, I’m excited for some zesty pastas and refreshing salads to peak my menu. What I adore most about preparing my Lemon Orecchiette Pasta with Roasted Garlic, Broccoli Rabe & Romano is that it brings me back to Capri, Italy which is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s simplistic cooking featuring local, seasonal produce without all the “extra stuff” we have no need for since these ingredients showcase themselves beautifully on their own.”
- 10 oz. whole wheat orecchiette (about 5 cups uncooked)
- ½ cup reserved cooking water from the pasta
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed with thick part of stem trimmed, slice into 1-inch pieces (Discard any yellow leaves)
- 2-3 teaspoon olive oil (used for roasting the garlic)
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese + more for topping
- 2 tablespoon grated lemon zest + juice from half of that lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt + couple pinches for boiling the pasta
- 1-2 heads roasted garlic mashed; see below how to prepare (Garlic comes in different sizes; 1 large head or 2 small heads will do)
*If broccoli rabe is too bitter for you, substitute with 5 cups of broccoli florets.
1.) Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions; should be approximately 8 minutes.
2.) About a minute before the pasta is cooked, stir in the broccoli rabe to blanch. (If using broccoli florets add to the pot 3 minutes before pasta is cooked)
3.) Before draining the pasta and broccoli rabe, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and then drain everything well.
4.) Melt butter large skillet over medium heat.
5.) Add the lemon zest followed by red pepper flakes and salt. Cook for about 1 minute.
6.) Drain the pasta and broccoli rabe and add to the skillet.
7.) Stir in the reserved cooking liquid, lemon juice, roasted garlic cloves and Romano cheese.
8.) Mix everything together until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
9.) Cook over low heat until pasta water has reduced.
10.) Serve with additional grated Romano cheese sprinkled on top.
*Mashed Roasted Garlic - To roast the garlic, preheat you oven to 400 degrees and peel away the outer-layers of the skin leaving cloves intact. Slice the top off of the pointy end of the bulbs with a sharp knife exposing each garlic clove. Position garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over the top. Wrap it tightly in aluminum foil to completely close it up. Cook 45-60 minutes until the garlic looks soft and tender. Let cool and peal outer-layer of each individual clove; it should squeeze right out. Mash in a small dish with remaining warm olive oil from baking pan and set aside to add to the pasta.