Anna (sciamanna) wrote in vegancooking,

Pasta con le cime di rapa

I've just posted a bunch of vegan pasta recipes on my journal because a friend had asked me if I knew any. On feorag's suggestion, I'm reposting them here.

The title translates as "pasta with turnip greens".

Ingredients for 4 servings (see note on ingredients at the end of the recipe)

300-400 g orecchiette
600 g - 1 kg turnip greens
3-4 cloves garlic
a dozen salted capers (not vinegar-pickled!)
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 dried chillies (optional)

1. Clean and wash the greens; remove the tougher stems (can be used for stock).
2. Boil a large quantity of salted water and throw the greens in when it boils.
3. Cover the pot; as soon as it boils again, throw in the pasta and cook together until ready. (This is for "regular" dried pasta. If using fresh orecchiette, they cook much faster, so cook the greens for 5 minutes before adding the pasta.)
4. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a wok or large pan. Peel and bruise the garlic cloves; rinse and roughly chop the capers. Add garlic, capers and salt to the oil and fry while the pasta cooks. (Add chillies too if you like. I do.)
5. Drain the pasta and greens and add to the flavourings in the wok. Cook together for a couple of minutes and serve.

(Long) note on ingredients:

This is a very traditional recipe from Puglia (the heel of the boot), except for the detail that the traditional recipe uses anchovies, and I've replaced them with capers (as I always do to adapt Italian recipes that are otherwise vegetarian: it works very well.)

Turnip greens ("cime di rapa") are the traditional ingredient, but they're very seasonal and they're not available everywhere. A few days ago I made this pasta with mustard greens and it worked wonderfully. I assume it will work just as well with any kind of bitterish greens (spinach is probably too bland, much as I love it). And there's the "almost-traditional" version with broccoli, which is basically what Italians do when cime di rapa aren't available. (For the broccoli version, it's worth separating stalks and florets and boiling the stalks for a few minutes before adding florets and pasta together.)

Orecchiette are a special kind of pasta from Puglia. Frankly, I can't imagine making this recipe with any other kind of pasta. There are several Italian brands available: I have no difficulty finding them in Dublin, don't know about elsewhere... I suppose in an emergency farfalle could be used though.

Also traditionally, grated pecorino is added on the table; elsewhere in Italy, people often use parmesan instead. Obviously, this makes it non-vegan. The dish doesn't need pecorino to be very tasty: I just mentioned this for completeness :-)
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