Baked Orecchiette with Broccolini
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Serves: 6
 
I love this pasta dish because it has the flavors of Italian sausage without having any meat. It is a flavorful and satisfying meal.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 1½ pounds broccolini, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • ½ pound fresh ricotta
  • Grated parmesan
Instructions
  1. Cook 1 pound of pasta in salted water until extremely al dente, about 8 minutes. Lift the pasta from the water and drain.
  2. Using the boiling water, blanch the broccolini for a minute or so. Drain in a colander.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Warm the garlic in the oil, but don’t let it brown. Add the broccolini, rosemary, fennel seeds and red pepper. Lightly salt the greens, stir them around the pan, and turn off the heat.
  4. To assemble the dish, put the cooked pasta and cooked greens in a large bowl and mix gently. Add the ricotta and mix again.
  5. Butter a shallow gratin dish. Put the pasta mixture in dish and sprinkle generously with grated parmesan. Cover and keep at room temperature for up to several hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Shortly before serving time, bake the pasta for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes more. Serve immediately.
Notes
The original recipe calls for broccolini, kale, or chard; I like the broccolini which picks up the spices nicely and has a sweeter flavor against the red pepper. I also cut the amount of red pepper flakes down from one full teaspoon - I didn't find it too spicy, but The Child did. A half teaspoon is still on the spicy side, but The Child will actually eat it. Finally, I swapped out the pecorino for some parmesan, mostly because I always have a big wedge of parmesan on hand. Both work fine, but the pecorino is a bit stronger, of course.
Recipe by Sprung At Last at http://www.sprungatlast.com/2013/06/baked-orecchiette-with-broccolini/