Thursday, June 14, 2007

pasta week . . . week two

I'm still making pasta. It's just fast and easy and the most I can do on hot summer days. Well, yesterday wasn't hot. Okay, I'm just addicted to pasta.

Last night, the choice of pasta was influenced by a bunch of pancetta that I needed to use up. I decided on a favorite of mine, Penne with Chickpeas and Broccoli Rabe. In the past I've made this with bacon, prosciutto, or pancetta, depending on what I had around. Unlike bacon or prosciutto, pancetta is not smoked, so the flavor is a bit more subtle against the bitter rabe, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood for smokiness, so I'm fine with that. The best thing about this dish is that it really takes less than 10 minutes. Recipe after the jump:


1 lb penne or other tubular pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp pepperoncino (dried red pepper flakes), or to taste
4 garlic cloves, sliced very thin
6 ounces pancetta, chopped in small cubes(or thick-cut prosciutto or bacon)
1 lb cooked chickpeas (can use 1 15.5 oz can)
2 lbs broccoli rabe, chopped in 1-inch pieces
kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
grated parmiggiano-reggiano

While water for pasta is boiling, prep all of the ingredients that need to be chopped or sliced. Once you drop the pasta into the water, start the sauce. Heat the oil in a large saute pan, reserving about 3 tbsp for finishing. When hot, add the pepper flakes and let them toast in the oil for about 1/2 minute. Add the garlic and pancetta and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the pancetta is crisp and the fat has rendered. Add the chickpeas and ladle about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the pan. Bring to a boil.

(Be honest with yourself about how much you'd like to eat it just like that.)
Lay the broccoli rabe over the top of the chickpeas, cover, and lower the heat to steam and wilt the greens for a couple of minutes. Uncover, add the reserved olive oil, and stir the greens into the mixture. Let the sauce simmer at a low heat until the pasta is a minute or two away from al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss and continue to simmer for a minute until the pasta has fully cooked. Add the chopped parsley off the heat. Serve with grated cheese.

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