Prep/cook time: 30 minutes
Serves 4 / Rapini’s slight bitterness and the hot-pungent flavors of this southern Italian sauce make a perfect foil for pasta and beans. Prep tip: If you can’t find leafy rapini, you’ll get similar results by combining a bunch of broccolini (baby broccoli) and a bunch of Swiss chard, prepared following the same instructions.
2 bunches rapini (1 pound each)
1/3 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 pound brown rice penne (or similar pasta)
3/4-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
7 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Grated ricotta salata or crumbled feta cheese, for garnish
1. Bring two large pots of water to a boil.
2. Snap florets off rapini and place in a large bowl of cold water. Lay each bunch of leaves on a cutting board and cut crosswise at about half-inch intervals (discard tough lower stems). Chop lightly, add to bowl, and stir. Allow any dirt to settle; then scoop florets and leaves out and drain in a colander.
3. When water is boiling, add rapini to one, stir for about 15 seconds, and then drain in a colander. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon salt, and pasta to second pot. Stir well to prevent sticking, and cook for 8–10 minutes, or until done.
4. While pasta cooks, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat in a large pot with crushed red peppers, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano, stirring constantly. As soon as garlic begins to color lightly (about 3 minutes), add rapini and stir briskly. After about 2 minutes, add cannellini and stir very gently to combine. Lower heat to maintain a very low simmer.
5. Drain pasta and add to rapini and beans. Toss gently until well combined and serve at once, garnished with cheese if desired.
PER SERVING: 525 cal, 35% fat cal, 21g fat, 4g sat fat, 0mg chol, 17g protein, 69g carb, 14g fiber, 504mg sodium