Thursday, 31 March 2011

Orecchiette baresi con cime di rapa (orecchiette pasta with broccoli tops)

If I were to crown a Queen of all Green Things... no... Empress of all Green and Really Yummy Things, the trophy would go to cime di rapa, or broccoli di rape, as they call it in some areas of Italy. To me... it's cime di rapa. A member of the brassica family, very closely related to broccoli (Calabrese and sprouting broccoli) cime di rape is the Anita Ekberg of the vegeatble world: busty, sexy, robust, very, very flavoursome and... definitely  "FEMALE"

To me, cime di rape with pasta ( you can have it with spaghetti, linguine or penne, if you like!) was the signature tune of our Saturday dinners, in Winter. I can still remember coming home from school on a Saturday and being "invested" by the moist, bitter smelling steam produced by the vegetable, as the door was opened to let me into the house.

To me, this also was the smell of Christmas Eve, it was the smell of home, in Winter, when, as a child, I would run to the steamed up windows and, overlooking a traffic jam, downstairs, I would draw a house, with a chimney and smoke coming out of it.

I don't think I had ever seen a house with a chimney, in those days, as I lived in a big city, but I now know, for sure, that when a child draws a house with a smokey chimney, it means that that child has a happy home. And what a happy home Rosa, with the beautiful smile and sweet, quiet Leonardo had made for us.

I will always be grateful to my parents, no matter what happens in my life, for having provided me with such happy beginnings and a childhood full of sweet, tender, untold love and for the loving memories.

Anyway! Here is my recipe:

Orecchiette baresi con cime di rapa

Serves 4

700 gr cime di rapa, cleaned and washed
or broccoli, cut into florets and washed
8 generous glugs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red chilli pepper
8 anchovy fillets
freshly milled black pepper

500 gr orecchiette pasta
or spaghetti, penne or linguine

Cime di rapa... beautifully green... wouldn't you say?

This is a quick and easy one. First of all put a large pot full of water on the ring. When it comes to the boil, add the cleaned vegetables. 3 or 4 minutes later add your orecchiette. Cook dry orecchiette for about 20 minutes or other pasta shapes according to the instructions on the packet.

This is orecchiette, handmade in Italy

Dry orecchiette is not bad... quite good, in fact...

While this is happening, heat the oil in a pan and, when really hot add your garlic and chilli. Cook until the garlic is brown, but not burnt (burnt garlic is very bitter!) then add your anchovies. Stir and take off the heat. DONE!

Taste your pasta to see if it's cooked (don't forget to add salt to your pasta, by the way!) then drain it, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

Place the drained pasta in the pan with the sauce, mix, add lots of lovely fragrant freshly milled black pepper, then serve. If you think the end result is too dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.

This dish is absolutely wonderful. Don't need lots of ingredients to make fantastic food... do you?

No longer with us... RIP... we ate it! It tasted molto buono!

1 comment:

  1. Anna Bella! I just saw this recipe! It makes me crazy! I often see Cima di Rapa in the shop but then I have no recipe in my head and then I do not buy it. But tomorrow I'll have the ingrediencies of this dish on my shopping list and in the evening we will have it for supper! I love all veggies that are green and orecchiette are one of our favorite pastas anyway and I know with the anchovies we will all fly to heaven! Of course we shall have a glass (or two) of red wine with it! Thanks Anna! Your blog is like a holiday in Italy! Hugs Christa