Pappardelle with Broccoli Rabe and ricotta

Serves 6 to 8

We love this recipe with homemade chestnut pappardelle, but for a simple meal, any pasta will do. Substitute broccoli, broccolini, or even chopped Swiss chard for the broccoli rabe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb broccoli rabe
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 10 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups ricotta
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1 1/4 lb pappardelle or other pasta
  • Grated Pecorino Romano, as needed for serving

Directions

  1. Trim all the leaves from the broccoli rabe and remove the central core from each leaf. Remove the bottom 3 inches of the stem and peel the rest up to the flower buds. Rinse well under cold running water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and stir to submerge. Cook, uncovered, until tender and a deep green color, 3 to 4 minutes. Lift the greens out of the water with a sieve or slotted spoon and transfer to a colander to drain for a few minutes. Coarsely chop the broccoli rabe. Set aside
  2. Heat 6 tablespoons of the oil in a deep sauté pan or Dutch oven. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is a light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the dried chile and the chopped broccoli rabe. Continue to cook until the broccoli rabe is very hot and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard the chile.
  3. Mix the ricotta with the remaining 1/4 cup oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove 6 to 8 tablespoons of the ricotta and reserve to garnish the dish.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pappardelle and stir to separate the pasta and submerge the noodles. Cook, uncovered, until the pasta is just tender (al dente), 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve a few ladlefuls of the pasta cooking water for finishing the sauce (you will need about 1/2 cup).
  5. Drain the pasta in a colander. Shake well to remove any water clinging to the pasta. Pour the drained pasta into a large heated serving bowl. Add the ricotta–olive oil mixture and toss together with the pasta. Add the broccoli rabe and toss to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to make the sauce creamy. Top with dollops of the reserved ricotta and serve at once, and pass the Pecorino Romano on the side.

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