Street pasta

Another whack at one of the easier Street Food recipes. Loving this book. Excited to tackle some more adventurous recipes next. This one was simple and delicious. Beans in pasta? Yes!

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Ditalini Pasta with Roman Broccoli, White Beans, and Pecorino (Susan Feniger, Street Food)

  • 1 cup dried white beans
  • 2 ribs celery, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for tossing
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups ditalini pasta, or any small pasta
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

1. In a large saucepan set over high heat, combine the beans, celery, carrot, and whole garlic cloves. Cover with 10 cups of water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook for another 30 minutes or until the beans are tender. Drain off the liquid and discard the pieces of carrot, celery, and garlic.

2. While the beans are cooking, prepare the broccoli rabe: Cut off and discard the bottom 2 inches (the thick ends) of the broccoli rabe. Cut the rest of the broccoli rabe into 2-inch pieces. Put it into a heavy-bottomed pot set over very low heat, and add the 1/4 cup olive oil, the chopped garlic, the cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir well, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. The trick to keeping the broccoli rabe from becoming too bitter is to take your time and cook it slowly and evenly.

3. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons of water to the broccoli rabe. Stir, cover again, and cook for 8 minutes. It will appear overcooked and almost mushy — this is exactly what you’re looking for. Turn off the heat, leave the pan covered, and let the mixture steam for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 12 minutes or until al dente. Drain, toss lightly in olive oil to coat, and then spread the pasta out on a baking sheet to cool.

5. When you’re ready to serve the dish, combine the pasta, broccoli rabe, and beans in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the pecorino cheese and the lemon juice. Stir well to combine. Put the pasta mixture in a large serving bowl, or divide it among 4 smaller bowls. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup pecorino.

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