linguini with broccoli rabe, toasted garlic and breadcrumbs

April 27th, 2009 · 42 Comments

bittman made this. and then i did too. and now you should. because it’s both fast and easy and well, quite perfect. besides the 4 ingredients in the title there’s only red chili flakes, olive oil and a bit of cheese on top – that’s it.

this is a humble dish. a weeknight dish. although it’s also a perfect primi for a bigger dinner. to be quite honest, this pasta opened for the pompano. but on a different day it would have been very respectable all on its own.

so yes, these are the kinds of dishes you need to know about. and really, any green will do. you could add some fresh oven roasted tomatoes, some grilled baby eggplant slices – or hey, use zucchini. because you know that’s coming in droves. you csa members out there? soon enough it will be Zucchini Forever. so you are very welcome in advance. because i know you. come august? you’ll be begging for a fresh take on a zucchini dish… so toasted garlic and fresh breadcrumbs are now IMPORTANT. because together they make nearly everything better.

a sharper close up because i thought you might be pining for a better look at this…

oh, and as you might imagine, the process is a total cinch. just get some well salted water to a rolling boil. in the meantime heat some olive oil in a pan and toast some sliced garlic until it’s a light brown. reserve off to the side. then do the same for your fresh breadcrumbs. and listen, there’ll be no panko or store bought crumbs allowed here, ok? just dice up some good leftover fresh bread or give it a quick whirl in the old fo-pro. bag and freeze. then use with abandon whenever…

the broccoli rabe goes into the boiling water first and after 3 or 4 minutes, it’s removed with tongs and placed in a bowl of very cold water. drain and roughly chop the greens and set aside. then the pasta goes into the water to cook. when it’s done, add the noodles to a very warm pan along with the greens. add the chili flakes to taste and then toss well with perhaps a bit more olive oil – only if needed. plate the pasta, adding the toasted breadcrumbs, then some of the garlic slices and a bit of cheese – parmigiano or pecorino. use whatever you have on hand. you don’t need much.

i love this kind of dish. every ingredient pops. and it’s just so basic – but somehow it’s also so damn good. so good that really, i could eat this over and over again, reincarnating it into something a bit different each time. or not.

you see that bowl right there? it’s my kind of food…

(bittman’s version with a video – i just love this guy)

Tags: greens · pasta

42 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jeff // Apr 27, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Simple is always better in my opinion and especially on weeknights in the summer time. Hmmm especially faced with play softball or slave or over a stove now where did I put my gloves.

    Nice use of brocolli rabe and I can’t wait for mine to poke through to give this a shot.

  • 2 Robert // Apr 27, 2009 at 7:38 am


    Very nice. You have gotten us countng everything now though. Calories? We know you know……

  • 3 annie // Apr 27, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Okay; as soon as I can get something green that is grown in Michigan, we are having this. The Farmers Market opens this coming Saturday, and someone must be growing SOMETHING green in a cold frame or greenhouse. Thanks for a good vegetarian dinner for the family – some crusty bread, a salad and we’re in business!!

  • 4 Angela // Apr 27, 2009 at 8:01 am

    I came, I saw, I ate.
    Simple and delish!
    Claudia is once again the best Italian restaurant in town….in many towns.

  • 5 Angela // Apr 27, 2009 at 8:05 am

    I came, I saw, I ate.
    Simple and delish!
    You are, once again the best Italian restaurant in town….
    I know, I know….everytime I say this,
    you say, “yeah, well this is Nashville…”
    But in truth I’ve had some of the best pasta in my life in your house….
    so shut your pie hole and take the compliment, Ms. Fret!

  • 6 maggie (p&c) // Apr 27, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Mmm. Perfect. Does the broccoli water change the flavor of the pasta at all?

  • 7 claudia // Apr 27, 2009 at 8:16 am

    maggie – not in the least.

    angela – you said it twice. and once with feeling and a link to your site! you’re learning…

    annie – i’m thinking the broccoli rabe was not from these parts. but i can live with that!

    robert – a small bowl…

    jeff – another guy who grows a bunch of stuff… sigh….

  • 8 codfish // Apr 27, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I love love love broccoli rabe with pasta and cheese. Breadcrumbs can only make that combination better. Mmm.

  • 9 krysta // Apr 27, 2009 at 9:02 am

    that is your type of dish as i was well schooled on on facebook last night.

    grasshopper learns well from the master…

  • 10 maris // Apr 27, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I love broccoli rabe! This sounds so simple and those types of dinners are always the best ones~!

  • 11 Pam // Apr 27, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Bittman never disappoints me when it comes to pasta.

  • 12 rebekka // Apr 27, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I think I should make this tomorrow night. Thank you!!!!

  • 13 Kevin // Apr 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Quick, simple and tasty! A great weekday pasta!

  • 14 we are never full // Apr 27, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    i will still say that a lightly sauteed broccoli rabe makes the best rabe! just me, though. also, i love that he browned the garlic. growing up my mom always swore by “almost burnt but not quite” garlic – especially in her “world famous”aglio e olio. this is nice and simple… me wants it w/ gnocchi.

  • 15 becky and the beanstock // Apr 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Nice close-up! I am so far behind on my blog reading — how nice to return to my Google reader and find multiple posts from CEF. This is one I can make – none of that meat stuff. Plus I’m always happy to learn about a weeknight recipe.

  • 16 The Culinary Sherpas // Apr 28, 2009 at 6:23 am

    Just one word. Yum.

  • 17 goodfoodmatters // Apr 28, 2009 at 7:22 am

    I love this dish in all its variations; I’ve made a similar version w/arugula, based on one I had once in Siena. The toasted breadcrumbs really make it special—and put something a little stale to good use. If you have the opportunity, try Pecorino Toscana or Sardo–slightly grassier, yet creamier tang than Romano.

  • 18 Jennifer Hess // Apr 28, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Love it. When we get our bread sliced at the bakery, I always try to set aside the heels for breadcrumbs. Waste not, etc.

    Really anxious for broccoli rabe season here.

  • 19 Peter // Apr 28, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Love these rustic dishes and the toasted bread crumbs are under-appreciated. This dish is heightened with homemade crumbs. Grazie.

  • 20 Melissa // Apr 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Oh this is definitely a YOU dish. I saw this on Bittman and noted it as well. I learned how awesome toasted breadcrumbs could be in pasta when I made a bay scallop linguini last year. Amazing. And it’s been far too long since I had rabe.

    “give it a quick whirl in the old fo-pro. bag and freeze”

    Yes! No one had to teach me that one! :P

  • 21 Pee Dubya // Apr 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    It’s nice to see that upon my return to Nashville nothing important has changed. You’re still cranking out amazing food and photos. I’ve distributed your link far and wide across this country so maybe a few new folks have caught on.

  • 22 rachel // Apr 29, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Even vincenzo’s eyes lit up at that photo and he never gets excited about food blogs until they are realised in the kitchen.
    I could eat this at least 3 nights a week.
    I like the inclusion of beadcrumbs and toasty garlic.
    Might just make this tonight

  • 23 Samantha // Apr 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

    love love love this
    and it will be mine!

  • 24 Rachel (S[d]OC) // Apr 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    You are so spot on with your observations about dishes like this. Sometimes just the simplest combinations of flavors can taste just so perfect.

    NY has been having a heat wave lately, but it’s still not quite growing the season for zucchini harvest yet. I can hold off the zucchini fatigue for a while.

  • 25 Marie // Apr 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    This is right up my alley! I just love dishes like this. Great photo Claudia

  • 26 Heather // May 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Classic, gorgeous, and perfect. Or should I say, “quick, simple and tasty!”

    I’ve been having a really hard time stomaching meat these days, and this looks like a fabulous dinner.

  • 27 GASTRONORMOUS » Friday Feeder // May 1, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    [...] Eat, Fret actually made the Bittman broccoli rabe pasta dish I mentioned two weeks ago, and declares it [...]

  • 28 SpinachTiger // May 2, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Love broccoli rabe. just made it recently with a chocolate pasta. Strange I know. Breadcrumbs….always a good choice, then my mom won’t be saying. “WHERE is the bread.” She’s a total carboholic. BTW, in our house, this could be saturday night.

  • 29 zenchef // May 2, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I’m gonna come to Nashville and you’re gonna cook this for me! :-)

  • 30 Tracy W. // May 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Can I come to Nashville too and you can cook this for both zenchef AND ME TOO??? Because i love the sound of this dish.

    I saw your twitter on Scarpetta. I love the sound of this pasta the best…

  • 31 jaden // May 3, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    oooh this is my kind of food too!!

  • 32 Marc @ NoRecipes // May 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Mmmm I love nice simple pastas like this, perfect for spring. Just made something similar with roasted bell peppers and ramps.

  • 33 Kim // May 5, 2009 at 6:46 am

    I love the simplicity of this dish. It has been ages since I have had pasta and I am going to do something about it. Thanks for the closeup as the first image was a tease!

  • 34 Jack // May 6, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Looks like good everyday food to me, although I’ve never tried broccoli rabe. That looks like a great way to use it. Sawbriars and poke sallet are coming in right now and I’m thinking either might be good done the same way as well.

  • 35 lo // May 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    In the infancy of my cooking, I really hated Bittman. I think I figured he was a Simpleton :)

    Lawd, I was so very wrong. And a pasta like this just proves it. I’m totally digging this.

  • 36 Hélène // May 7, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I love this kind of pasta. Sometimes I sautée the garlic in OO, add lemon juice and fresh parmesan. Simple and delicious.

  • 37 Hillary // May 8, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Love the “toasted” garlic instead of the roasted!! :)

  • 38 Bren // May 10, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I don’t like pasta too much, but this right here looks like something I’d make/eat. I like Bittman, too, but he’s not responding to my emails, so I may just have to scale back on my like him level.

  • 39 Nicole // May 17, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Now that is my kind of pasta. I just love the toasted garlic like that… ooooohhhh man!

  • 40 Fabiola // Dec 2, 2009 at 8:00 am

    I love pasta. I tasted many of it when I was training for hotel management. The pastas were specializes by chef trainee. Surely, it is more delicious with the professional chef. Hope to visit Nashville for that Linguini with broccoli rabe, toasted garlic and breadcrumbs, and we’ll know if it’s worth my time and stomach.’Grats!

  • 41 Mason // Dec 17, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Yeah the 2nd pic closeup is beautiful..the dish looks stunning…I started drooling… :) Also I was wondering about the broccoli rabe…is there a special reason why after boiling it has to go into cold water…I mean other than the obvious one (cooling)?!

  • 42 claudia // Dec 17, 2009 at 10:08 am

    mason, it instantly stops the cooking process! important when seconds make a difference… often this is done with vegetables. if you let them sit, even out of the water they will continue to cook.

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