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Whole-Wheat Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

Pasta made from farro, an ancient variety of wheat, has a nutty flavor that goes perfectly with the broccoli rabe in this hearty dish. If you prefer more pungent greens, add 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes with the garlic.

Ingredients:

For the roasted garlic: 

  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Kosher salt, to taste 
  •   
  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, about 1 1/2 lb., ends trimmed
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 3/4 lb. farro linguine or whole-wheat linguine
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cup chopped red onion 
  • 2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth or water 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

To make the roasted garlic, pull off the papery outer layers from the head of garlic. Break into individual cloves, or slice the head crosswise at the root end to expose all of the cloves. Lay a 12-inch square of aluminum foil on a work surface. Place the garlic in the center, drizzle with the olive oil and using your fingers, rub the oil evenly over the garlic. If using the garlic head intact, place cut side down and make sure that the cut portion is well oiled. Sprinkle with 2 pinches of salt. Bring the 4 corners of the foil up over the garlic, twist and press to seal the packet.

Roast until the garlic is very soft, 50 to 60 minutes. You will need 3 roasted garlic cloves for this recipe; reserve the rest for another use. The garlic will keep in its foil packet for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their papery peels. Cut off the broccoli rabe florets and coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente.

While the water is heating, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in half of the broccoli rabe, including the florets, coating them with the oil. Cook until the wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth and mix in the roasted garlic, breaking it up with the back of the spoon until it dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the broccoli rabe is tender, 10 to 12 minutes more. Stir in the 1/4 tsp. salt and season with pepper.

When the pasta is ready, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Place the pasta in a serving bowl and top with the broccoli rabe sauce. If the dish is too dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).