Short Pasta with Broccoli Rabe, Chickpeas and Bacon
Pasta with garlicky broccoli rabe is an Italian classic, but this dish adds a new twist to the tradition. Tender broccoli rabe and hearty chickpeas are sauteed in garlic and olive oil, tossed with pasta, and topped with crispy bacon. Quick and simple, this recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Recipe by Julia della Croce
Julia is one of America’s foremost authorities on Italian cooking. She is a James Beard Award winning author and has written over 15 cookbooks.
- 1½ Cups cooked chick-peas, skins removed
- 1 Bunch broccoli rabe or equivalent weight pre-washed bag broccoli rabe
- Kosher salt
- 2 Strips bacon, julienned
- 5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Large garlic cloves, smashed
- ½ Teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 6 Ounces good quality imported Italian short-cut pasta such as casareccia, gemelli, penne, or medium shells, whole grain or classic semolina variety
1. If using bunch broccoli rabe, trim off any discolored tips from the bottom of the stems. Sever the stems from the tops and cut them into 2-inch lengths while leaving the buds whole. Wash the greens in abundant cold water. Use pre-washed bag broccoli rabe as is.
2. In large stock pot, bring 6 quarts water a rolling boil. Add the broccoli rabe and 3 tablespoons kosher salt and cook for 2-1/2 minutes. Place a large mixing bowl next to the burner. Use the strainer to lift the greens out all at once and set the strainer over the bowl to drain. Set aside. Reserve the cooking water.
3. In the meanwhile, in an ample skillet, cook the bacon over medium low heat until it is browned. Transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan and sauté over medium-low heat until the garlic is golden but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the drained greens and chick-peas to the skillet and toss them in the oil to coat evenly. Check for salt.
4. In the meantime, bring the reserved broccoli rabe cooking water back to a rapid boil. Stir in the pasta and cook precisely according to the package instructions for “al dente.”
5. Drain and toss the pasta in the skillet together with the broccoli rabe and chick-peas. Check for salt and top with the bacon. Serve at once.
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