Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa - Pasta with tenderstem broccoli
Quick, fresh, but creamy and comforting!
A simple, comforting dish from Italy's Puglia region. "Cime di rapa" are greens - they have been compared to turnip tops, broccoli and many other veggies. I'm using tenderstem broccoli; you could use purple flowering broccoli, or anything that suits. The basic texture comes from a tender stem or shoot that is cooked down to being almost creamy.
I'm using spicy Italian sausage here too, but you could avoid that if you want a vegetarian version
Italian sausage (piccante in this case)
leek - It's not necessary, but I had the remans of a leek that was going a bit soft: waste nothing!
Pecorino cheese - or Parmesan. Any gritty, nutty cheese would do: Gruyère, Manchego, the list goes on...
orecchiette pasta - any pasta will do, but orecchiette are traditionally used in this dish - and they work!
Watch the video
Finely chop the broccoli
Top and tail the leek, taking off the tough outer layers
Halve it lengthways and then finely slice it across the length; you want it small
Wash the chopped leek - I find washing it when sliced up gets it cleaner easier; leeks are sneaky buggers when it comes to hiding bits of earth in their layers
Finely chop the garlic
Cut open the sausage - if you're using it (if you're NOT using sausage, there is very little point to randomly cutting one up) and scoop out the meat
Chop the sausage meat up to remove clumps
Heat olive oil in a pan and add the sausage meat
Let the meat flavour the oi
Add the broccoli, leek and garlic
Boil salted water in a pan, and add the pasta
Turn the heat down to about 8 - you don't need 100ºC for pasta; in fact t's not good for the pasta
Meanwhile, stir the broccoli mix
Add a ladle or two of the pasta water, stir through and cover
After 10 minutes, the pasta and the broccoli will be ready
Using a slotted spoon, add the pasta to the broccoli - don't drain the pasta; you want some water to go with it
Mix it through
Add grated cheese and pepper