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Smoky Roasted Rapini and Strozzapreti


  • 1 large bunch rapini (broccoli rabe), cut into 2-to 3-inch pieces

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided

  • Salt and pepper

  • A pinch of freshly grated or ground nutmeg

  • 1 pound strozzapreti, cavatelli or penne rigate

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 Fresno or other red chili pepper-stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed (about 1/2 palmful)

  • 1 cup grated Provolone Piccante cheese


Pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In a large bowl, toss the rapini with 3 tablespoons EVOO. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; scatter on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until the rapini is crispy on the edges, 15-18 minutes.

When the rapini is almost done, salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons EVOO, three turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chili pepper, paprika and fennel seed; cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the pasta cooking water to the skillet and stir.

Add the pasta and the roasted rapini to the skillet. Toss and adjust the salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls topped with the cheese.