Linguine with Rapini, Garlic, and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Despite its resemblance to broccoli, rapini is actually a descendant of the turnip family. You might know rapini by one of its many other names: broccoli raab, rabe, or broccoletti. California produces approximately 90% of the rapini grown in the US with Monterey County being the largest producer in California with close to 3,000 acres in production.

INGREDIENTS:

Salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered
1 cup breadcrumbs, preferably homemade (sourdough is great for crumbs)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
About 1 pound rapini, trimmed and washed
1 pound fresh linguine or other long pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

METHOD:

Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil; when it reaches a boil, add salt.

In a large skillet, pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and heat over medium-low heat. When oil is hot, add slivered garlic and cook just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and red pepper flakes and cook until breadcrumbs are golden, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add rapini to boiling water and cook until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking water. Drain rapini; when cool enough to handle, chop roughly.

Add pasta to the cooking water and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, add remaining 1/4 olive oil to skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped rapini and toss well; season with salt and pepper. When it is warm, add garlic and breadcrumbs and mix well.

When pasta is done, drain it, reserving a little cooking water.

Toss pasta in skillet with rapini mixture, moistening with a little reserved water if necessary.

Adjust seasonings and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

SOURCE: Recipe adapted from recipe by Mark Bittman, New York Times

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