Another stunningly beautiful Autumn day here . Sun shining, filtering through the high branches of mostly yellow leaves (not many sugar maples in these woods anymore), clear air, perfect temperatures for walking and hiking. But then I remembered that fresh bunch of rapini (also known as broccoli rabe and my favorite green next to spinach) in the fridge. With my first cup of coffee I checked my bookmarks menu, remembering two recipes I'd filed there. One was from Smitten Kitchen, the other from The Kitchn .
One a soup, one a very garlicky dinner dish. Both used red pepper flakes, one used fresh lemon juice, as I always do with any pasta dish.
The soup is a must-try for later, when the real cold weather arrives, but the rapini and pasta dish I made got slightly tweaked from the original recipe : a tiny sliver of garlic because I can no longer tolerate a lot of garlic, a little less olive oil, more rapini, lemon juice, and those pepper flakes, and I took her advice to match the size of the pasta to the size of the greens, something I'd never really thought about before. Best of all, you only need one pot to make this - though I did warm the olive oil in a small saucepan.
Rapini and rigatoni pasta with lemon juice, olive oil, and hot pepper flakes
Set a large pot of water on the burner, bring to a boil.
Set out your ingredients:
2 cups rigatoni pasta
4 packed cups of washed rapini, cut into 2 inch lengths ( I used most of the stems)
Juice of half a large lemon
1 clove of garlic, sliced ( more if you want)
generous pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
When the water comes to a boil, toss in the pasta and set your timer for 6 minutes on high boil.
Add the rapini when the timer dings, and set timer for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, take pot off the heat and drain, then place back in the pot, and stir the lemon juice into the rapini and rigatoni.
In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil briefly, along with the garlic, and hot pepper flakes.
Drizzle over the rapini/pasta, add salt to taste, and spoon into a serving dish.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of more olive oil.
This serves 2 or 3 very happy people.