ItalianNotebook – Italy Travel Blog

Girlfriend’s Recipe: Orecchiette e Broccoletti

When they saw me walking to my door after shopping at the market with my “bouquet” of broccoletti flapping out of my bag, (aka cime di rapa, or rapini or broccoli rabe in English), I could tell I wasn’t getting off the hook so easily. Sure enough, after the usual exchange of plesantries my girlfriends asked me how I was going to prepare them. Truth be told I hadn’t really thought of it, and decided then and there that I was going to make orecchiette (little ears) con cime di rapa. They had me go through the recipe step by step, where you do the broccoletti in water, drain them and the pasta, mix together …Sure enough, I’ve gone and done it again … all of a sudden there is more eyeball rolling, head waggling, and arm flapping than an outbreak of dengue fever, and after the first wave of single syllable eeeehhhsss crashes and breaks, Sig.ra Clara blurts, “Che fai? Butti tutta l’acqua?” which in the tone she used roughly translates as, “What could you be possibly thinking, you incompetent kitchen dilettante? You’re just going to throw out all that really delicious precious water and fully botch the recipe?”

I’m guessing that the water isn’t for one of those trendy new energy/power drinks, but wisely keep that comment to myself. Offering to save the water for soup probaby isn’t going to fly either, so I just keep silent and put on my clueless-stare long enough that they finally break down and proceed to solemnly share their recipe secret:

Heat up some oil, garlic, and peperoncino in the bottom of a pan large enough to hold all your broccoletti. Throw the washed undrained broccoletti in and cover, but keep watch that there is just enough water to keep them from sticking. Salt and keep moving and adding small amounts of water as needed. Then, 10 minutes before the broccoletti are done (yes, I know, it’s a case of “turn before you reach the next town” all over again, but I no longer even flinch when they say things like this), add the orecchiette that are half-done (natch!) and finish cooking them, uncovered, together with the broccoletti and juice until all that goodness gets soaked right up into the pasta. Serve with some pecorino, and enjoy.

Ok, fine! So maybe they do know what they’re doing, point taken. I promise, girls, no broccoletti energy drink …

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