Eat-Your-Greens Orechiette

Eat Your Greens Orechiette
  • 200g tenderstem or regular broccoli, stalks and all, woody ends trimmed
  • 100g bitter leaves such as radicchio, chicory or frisée, washed
  • 1tbs pine nuts
  • 200g orecchiette
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • A dried chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1-2 salted anchovy fillets. rinsed and dried
  • 3 tbs aged pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated
  • sea salt

Rinse the broccoli. Separate the tops into small florets and cut the stems into bite-sized pieces, halving lengthwise if very thick so that they cook at the same time s the florets. The idea is to replicate the slender and fast-cooking cime di rapa.

Prepare your bitter leaves. Tear any foliage roughly, and if you are using chicory, peel away the leaves, halve if very long and cut into thinnish strips to speed up cooking.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, salt well and add the broccoli, along with the bitter leaves. Cook until borderline tender - about three minutes - testing the stalky bits with the point of a small knife. Using a slotted spoon - don't discard the cooking water, keep it simmering! - lift out the greens, put them in a colander and refresh briefly under the cold tap to stop further cooking. Drain them well and shake them onto a double-thickness of kitchen paper or a clean tea-towel to absorb excess water.

Bring the broccoli cooking water back to a rolling boil and add the orecchiette. Cook them according to the packet instructions checking, as you always should, a couple of minutes sooner than recommended, just to ensure they don't go from al dente to toothless. It happens very quickly.

Meanwhile, dry-fry the pine nuts in a small, heavy-based frying pan until just golden.

Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the garlic, chilli and anchovies and cook for 2-3 minutes, mashing the anchovies with a fork. Add the drained vegetables along with the pine nuts and mix thoroughly.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Mix thoroughly and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, mix in the remaining oil and pecorino and serve immediately.

The Society's Falanghina will temper the greens beautifully even if it comes from over the border in Campania.

Members' Comments (1)

"Sounds great, but for authenticity and more importantly taste, if you grow veg.,try growing Rapa. Very easy; long growing season; delicious as salad[young] and cooked. My best performer last year. Buy seed from Italian seed companies [Franchi's do 3 types] and you get far more seeds than the British brands!

Mr David B Ronaldson (04-Feb-2017)

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