I LOVE watching Lidia Bastianich Cook, I mean what foodie doesn't? Her food is just so comforting and you really feel the love in her kitchen, it reminds me a lot of Arabic Cooking... grandma's in the kitchen, large family style platters and bringing together all those really economical ingredients to create a spectacular meal.
To me that's what food is all about!
After watching a marathon of her Cooking show episodes while the super bowl was running last sunday (I really dislike sports and have no clue about American Football) I was inspired to not only whip up a pasta dish but to give rapini yet another try (Think it's been 14 years, I've been *trying* to love it)
I can happy announce that it worked. The rapini was really delicious in this dish, not too bitter and I really loved it!
If you watch Lidia you'll know that there are some basic rules to follow. Boiling the pasta al dante, never putting oil in the pasta water, making sure to keep that lovely pasta water to finish the sauce and add lots of cheese (at the end!)
Unfortunately I didn't have any cheese in the house but I went ahead anyway washing and slicing the rapini, the stalks into 1/2 inch rings and the tops a little rougher, leaving the "broccoli" flower like parts fully in tact.
These pasta sauces come together in no time, I mean by time you're boiling the pasta it's done!
She used sausage, I used lean ground beef and spiced it a few hours in advance with salt, black pepper, lots of minced/grated fresh garlic and olive oil (add cubes of butter if desired)
When the meat was room temperature, and the Rapini was washed and sliced it was ready to go.
Normally garlic is sauteed at this first step but there was enough in the meat so I browned the "sausage" and to that added the rapini over top. Adding some pasta water to the pan I covered with a lid and let the rapini "steam" a bit.
When the pasta was done 9 minutes later and the stems of the rapini were tender it was ready to go.
Pasta goes over top, more pasta water and I toss with the heat off. It all comes together beautifully.
I enjoy a little acidity in my food so I added a lot of worstershire sauce over top (I know I know it's british not Italian but oh well)
Not everyone was keen on trying the Rapini so I was lucky to have divided the "sausage" early on and roll half the meat mixture into mini "meatballs"
I cleaned the pan and started again, quickly browning the meat and adding these little grape tomatoes to the pan, as soon as they "pop" (you can squish them a bit with the back of the spatula) the pasta and pasta water goes in, it all comes together with a little worstershire sauce and we're good to go!
If I had cheese it would have gone overtop at the end.
It was a great meal!
Incase you're wondering, I got the pasta for a great price (clearance) from Winners (who knew?!)
Winners is a TJMAXX or Home Goods type or store.