Chef's Note: This dish is one of the best ways we know to use rapini (a.k.a broccoli rabe) when it’s in season. Bright lemon zest, garlic, and red chile flakes play
off the bitterness of the rapini and reveal its sweetness; soft, tangy goat cheese brings together the more piquant ingredients with the starchy al dente pasta.
Boiling a vegetable such as broccoli rabe and then submerging it, or “shocking” it, in an icy water bath is called blanching. The technique does three things:
it preserves the vibrant color of the vegetable, transforms the vegetable’s flavor ever so slightly, and arrests the cooking process, preserving the vegetable’s
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 bunch rapini (about 1 lb.), roughly chopped
- 1⁄3 cup California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 12 oz. orecchiette pasta
- 2 tbsp. lemon zest
- 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
Bring an 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add rapini and boil until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon,
transfer rapini to a large bowl of ice water; chill. Drain rapini, pat dry, and set aside.
Heat the California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally,
until golden, about 3 minutes. Add chile flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 seconds. Add rapini, toss, and remove pan from heat; set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a 6-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer pasta and
lemon zest to reserved skillet over high heat. Toss to combine and season with salt. Divide pasta between bowls and add a dollop of goat cheese to each.
Recipe Credit: Saveur: The New Comfort Food
(Chronicle Books, 2011), edited by James Oseland. Reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books.