Orzo and Broccoli Rabe

If you haven’t tried broccoli rabe (also known as Italian broccoli or broccoli di rape), this is a good introduction. The bitterness (which I love) overwhelms some people, but is somewhat lessened by the taste of the creamy orzo I can’t convince my husband to eat even this mild rendition, so I often eat it as an entrée when he goes out of town. It is especially good with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Assemble and cook the orzo and the broccoli rabe just before serving.

Serves 6.

2 bundles broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped
¾ to 1 pound orzo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 to 4 tablespoons water

1. Place the broccoli rabe in a large pan with 2 inches of water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the rabe is tender about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Place a large pot of water over high heat and when it comes to a boil, add the orzo. Cook until the orzo is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and when it is hot, add the oil. Add the shallot and cook until it is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the orzo, broccoli rabe, salt, black pepper, the red pepper flakes, if desired, and the water, and cook until the orzo and rabe are warmed throughout, about 3 minutes.

4. Transfer to a heated serving bowl and serve immediately.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)