Variations on a Theme

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time at Milk Bar between needing to buy treats for my friends’ birthdays and looking for reasons to buy myself birthday cake truffles.

Each time I’m there, I can’t help but be a little sad that I didn’t come up with the concept of Franken Pie myself.

Seriously, it’s inspired: a mash up of all different varieties, so you don’t have to commit to just one. It’s gluttony at its finest.

In other words, not particularly sustainable, healthwise. But, the mash-up concept is.

So, here, is another mash-up, inspired in spirit by the pie, where in I combine several of my favorite foods as of late, including but not limited to broccoli rabe (I’ve only recently become a convert), pasta, and this sauce. If forced, I’d probably still go with the pie, but it’s nice to know that mash-ups can be healthy[ish], too.

Whole Wheat Penne with Tomato Braised Broccoli Rabe

1 pound broccoli rabe, rinsed and cut into approximately 1″ long pieces
2 cups whole wheat penne
14 oz tomato puree
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
Parmesan cheese, for garnishing

Blanch your broccoli rabe, setting aside.

In a large pan over a medium heat, heat the oil and butter until the butter has melted completely. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for approximately 2 minutes, until the garlic begins to brown. Add in the tomato paste and simmer for 5 minutes, allowing flavors to combine, then add in the broccoli rabe and reduce the flame. Cook for another ten to fifteen minutes, braising the broccoli rabe until it is tender.

While your sauce is simmering, cook the penne in well salted water, approximately eight to ten minutes. Once the pasta is al dente, strain out the pasta, reserving the pasta water, and add it to the pan with broccoli rabe. Stir and simmer for one to two minutes, adding the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce as necessary.

Divide the pasta into four servings and garnish with parmesan.

Serves 4


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Filed under Meatless, Pasta, Starch & Grains

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