One of my absolute favorite dishes is orecchiette with brococli rabe and sausage. It’s texturally perfect, flavorfully interesting and, well, simply, quite delicious. Feeling not-so-sausagey last night, I thought I’d play around with this Italian classic. I chose caramelized onions to get a meaty feel sans the animal, thus this dish is perfect for a vegetarian. I added a beautiful aged pecorino, but it’d be just as tasty — and vegan! — without the dairy. You choose. The possibilities are endless. Also, I didn’t include exact amounts in this recipe, as it is important to use your eyes and your tongue to get it tasting exactly how you like it!
GARLICKY ORECCHIETTE WITH BROCCOLI RABE AND CARAMELIZED ONIONS
2 heads broccoli rabe, chopped
1 lb orecchiette
extra virgin olive oil
2 yellows onions, thinly sliced
pink himalayan salt, or high quality sea salt
1/4 cup red wine (or water)
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
fresh cracked black pepper
crushed red pepper
Bring a large pot of highly salted water to boil (the water should taste like the sea). When it’s at a rolling boil, blanch the broccoli rabe for about 3 minutes, then shock it in ice cold water. Set aside. When the now green-hued water returns to a boil, cook the orecchiette according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet. Add a swig of olive oil and let it heat for a minute or two. (But not too long, as you never want oil to reach a smoking point because that’s when it become carcinogenic.) Add the onions and some salt. Saute on medium high heat, allowing the pan to get a bit brown. Deglaze with the red wine (or water) and cook until the onions are caramelized and the liquid evaporates. Add the garlic and continue cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes, then thrown in your broccoli rabe and toss it all together, adding a bit of balsamic to punctuate the flavor. Toss the cooked orecchiette into the vegetable mixture. Season with fresh cracked black pepper and more salt, as needed. Top with some grated pecorino or parmesan, if so inclined. And, of course, enjoy!!