Thursday, 3 November 2011

It's OK to Be Bitter

Pasta con Agnello Tritato, Cimi di Rapa & Ricotta
Pasta with Ground Lamb, Cimi di Rapa & Ricotta

This evenings supper was made using the last of the "cimi di rapa" from last night. The leaves were delicious- slightly pungent but very nice- and I knew the stalks would be a little bit more bitter, as the rapa is a form of broccoli rabe... but yowza! This stuff is the real deal!

But fear not my intrepid gastronauts- combined in the right way these greens make a wonderful meal for a cold Fall evening. And take it from a Sicilian- that bitter stuff is good for you! We love all things bitter and for many a reason!

I started off by boiling the pasta- I used a mix of penne and rigatoni- just using up those loose ends again! The stalks of the rapa take a bit of cooking, so I put them straight into the boiling water along with my pasta. Whilst the pasta was cooking, I fried up the ground beef, along with a little crushed garlic, fennel and caraway seed- I wanted it to taste like a really delicious Italian "salsiccia", which is a classic combination with broccoli raab. Once the lamb
had started to brown, I fished out the stalks from the noodle water and transferred them to the frying pan so that they would soak up the flavors of the lamb and garlic.

Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and after around 8-9 minutes, drain the pasta off and transfer it to the frying pan too. At this point we can add a couple of spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and a little milk. Stir until the ricotta dissolves and coats everything nicely.

Serve immediately with a nice grinding of fresh chili, a chilled white Corvo- and enjoy the bitter and authentic taste of Siciy! Buon Apetito!

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