I consider myself a good cook, however, tonight I proved that corollary wrong! I improvised a recipe and even as I was doing it, I knew it wasn’t going to be good. And it was a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish. I had it in mind to make a pasta dish tonight that I had seen in Martha Stewart‘s everyday Food.
The dish is Orrechiette with broccoli rabe, oregano and lemon. It’s simple, easy and quick to make and I thought it was the perfect dish to make tonight as I was out all day and didn’t want to prepare something that needed a lot of prep or ingredients.
Here’s the recipe:
3/4 # of orrechiette
1 bunch of broccoli rabe (about 1#) trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBS fresh oregano leaves for serving
2-3 TBS fresh lemon juice for serving
Cook pasta according to directions , adding broccoli rabe 4 minutes before pasta is done.
Meanwhile in a small saucepan, heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium heat till garlic begins to sizzle.
Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot. Add oil mixture and toss to coat; season with coarse salt and pepper. To serve, sprinkle oregano over pasta and drizzle with lemon juice.
It was really tasty and certainly easy to prepare. Here’s where I made my mistake and I did know better; When a recipe calls for a certain type and shape of macaroni (pasta to you all), there’s a reason. This is a weekly debate in our house as my husband (who is not Italian) only likes linguine. Seriously he likes linguine with any and all kinds of sauces. Different shapes have different densities and are able to hold the sauce better than others. Some penne have lines like penne rigate as opposed to ziti and the sauce will cling to one and not the other.
This recipe called for orrechiette (little ears) and they are small, slightly dense and concave. I love Wegman’s Food store, you all know that already, but lately I have a gripe with them; Over that last six months, Wegman’s has been eliminating the shelf space allotted to Barilla (my absolute favorite) and DeCecco brand of pasta and filling the shelves with their own brand. So when I looked for Barilla’s orrechiette there wasn’t any. In fact, even in the Wegman’s pasta, super pasta and whole wheat pasta sections, there weren’t any orrechiette. BUT, in their Wegman’s Classic Italian line which comes in all kinds of exotic shapes and is packaged in a clear cellophane bag, they did have orrechiette BUT that pasta line is priced in the $3.00+ category and I just couldn’t justify spending that much on the pasta itself. MISTAKE! Well not really, I should have gone elsewhere. Instead, I cruised the aisle back and forth and back and forth trying to discern what other shape might be substitutable for the little ears. There really wasn’t anything and I settled on some very small penne regate that Barilla calls Piccolini Penne and it cooks in 7 minutes. The end result was that the penne cooked very quickly and even though I tried to cook it according to the package directions (something I NEVER do) and add the rabe at the right moment, the penne were a little soft. We like our pasta al dente, the orrechiette would have been perfect. So I saved some money and made a dish that was tasty but could have been fantastic.
- Pan-Steamed Cauliflower with Barilotti (pbenjay.wordpress.com)
- Pasta with Broccoli Rabe, Olives & Sausage (thetreadmilldiaries.com)