Sunday, July 10, 2011

Domenica Marchetti's Orecchiette with Rapini Saltati

My shelves are filled with cookbooks of all kinds. There are, however, a few that get taken down again and again to be thumbed through or splattered with food while in use in my kitchen. The sign of a well-loved cookbook is butter stains on the pages, I'm sure of it. In the past month, I have added one cookbook which will no doubt suffer the same fate.

Domenica Marchetti's "The Glorious Pasta of Italy" is everything you would want in an Italian cookbook. It covers the from-scratch pastas your grandmother would make, to meals you can make on a weeknight that taste like you spent hours toiling over your stove (but you didn't). Did I mention it's absolutely beautiful as well? It is seriously like flipping through a work of art that will have you drooling over every page. It also helps that I've had the pleasure of meeting Domenica, and she's sweet as pie (or maybe in this case, as pasta). If the love of pasta is in your bones, please consider picking this cookbook up. It will get your heart racing, promise.

So it was a Sunday evening in our home, a quiet one at that. I wanted an impressive meal, but I couldn't handle too much work. I knew I had some broccoli rabe in the fridge from the farmers' market, I also knew I didn't have much help. Domenica to the rescue. There's a whole section of her cookbook, "Pasta on the Run", that's dedicated for night's like these. I chose the "Orecchiette with Rapini Saltati" and got to work.

Orecchiette with Rapini Saltati
Source: Domenica Marchetti's "The Glorious Pasta of Italy"
Serves 4

Things I also love about this book. Domenica understands that a pounds of pasta, that serves four people. One half of my family is Italian, and growing up like that, you know that a pound of pasta serves four, not 6-8.

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 bunches rapini (broccoli rabe), about 3 pounds total weight, tough stalks tossed, and big leaves torn into pieces, all of it roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, halved length wise
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch (I like a big pinch) of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine (please use one you'd actually drink)
1 pound dried orecchiette

Get a large pot of water to boiling on your stove, give it a good amount of salt.

While your water is boiling, take 1/4 a cup of your olive oil and place it in a deep frying pan (choose one with a cover). Now, take as much of your rapini as will fit, cover with some of the garlic halves, cover the pan, turn the heat to medium and let it wilt away. Once they shrink in size, add more greens and garlic, until all are used up.

Next, you want to sprinkle those greens with salt and red pepper flakes. Now, add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and, using tongs, toss until everything is well coated. Continue to cook until all your greens are slightly wilted. Now cover the pan, and cook another 5 minutes.

Take the cover off, and simmer the sauce over medium heat until the liquid evaporates and the greens are nice and tender. Pump the heat up to medium-high, add your wine, and simmer for several minutes until you see most of the wine has evaporated, and the liquid thickens up a bit. Turn the heat down and keep this mixture warm while you make your pasta.

Make your pasta according to the directions, but drain over a bowl so you can reserve at least a cup of the cooking liquid.

Add your pasta to the pan with the greens mixture/sauce and toss until everything is well combined. If you find the sauce too thick, use a little of the cooking water to loosen it up.

Serve immediately with plenty of Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Lighter Side of Local

We are getting into that part of the season where so many things are coming into abundance. That means, we're starting to seriously preserve what summer is giving to us. 

What I picked up for $11 at the farmers' market:
  • 1 pint raspberries (a special treat this early in the season here) - $4.50
  • 1 head lettuce - $3
  • 1 pint sugar snap peas - $3 
What I picked up at Russell Orchards in Ipswich, MA:
  • 3 pounds sweet cherries 
 What I preserved last week:
  • de-shelled (using the pods for soup) 1-pound of shelling peas for 1 cup of peas, simply frozen in a ziploc back, using a straw to get all the air out.
  • 1 cup corn from some early-season corn (enough for a side for us) we got for the 4th of July
  • canned 10 4-ounce jars of strawberry jam from the pick-your-own strawberries I got at the end of June at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, Ma.
  • freezing about a cup of chopped broccoli (simply spreading out on a parchment paper lined sheet after blanching/drying quickly, and then transferring to a ziploc bag)
 What I'm planning on preserving this week:
  • canning cherry-rhubarb jam
  • canning cherry-rhubarb-raspberry pie filling
  • freezing broccolini I picked up sometime last week
  • pickling some of the green beans and cherry tomatoes from our garden at the house.
So as you see, we're getting busy on putting stuff away for later in this season, early fall, and winter. The frozen veggies should last 3-4 months without any real problem. I'll be chronicling my canning adventures in more detail moving forward. 

Let's get some discussion going here, what are you finding at market? Are you preserving anything for the later months of the year? If so, what are you "putting up"?
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Dara Michalski said...

This sounds like a wonderful cookbook and I really like the simplicity of the flavors in this dish.

Isabelle Boucher said...

I'm loving these Pasta Party posts... each and every one of them makes me want Domenica's book even more!  I really do need to dash off to the bookstore to grab one. After all, we eat pasta at least once a week, so it would never gather dust in my house. :)
BTW, cherry-rhubarb jam?  Gimme! (or, umm.. y'know... send me a recipe?)

Emily said...

I'm seeing recipes from this book everywhere - must get my hands on it.  Orecchiette is one of my favorite pasta shapes - I'll have to try this recipe with the many greens that I will get from my CSA today!

Stephanie said...

Oh yum this look sawesome!!! I need to try this, see you are coming to boston brunchers yay. your blog is beautiful

Dan Clapson said...

I really love Domenica's book too! I still haven't tried a recipe out yet, but, as usual, you've inspired me! I'm going to cook something up from it this week! Yum!!

Kelly said...

Ohh I need to get that cookbook, looks fantastic!!  What a great dish :)