Fusilli with Broccoli Rabe and Radicchio

Broccoli Rabe is  packed with potassium, iron and calcium, dietary fiber and as well as vitamins A, C and K. Broccoli rabe also contains lutein, which is an antioxidant that protects the retinas of your eyes from damage caused by free radicals. Broccoli rabe is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

With its deeply ruffled leaves and demure green florets, broccoli rabe (pronounced “rahb”) looks like a kinder, gentler broccoli. But it’s far from mild-mannered. This bold member of the cabbage family, has a bitter edge similar to that of its cousin, mustard greens.  It pairs very well with most pasta dishes.

Lighten Up

Replacing regular pasta with whole wheat pasta makes this a healthier version of this meal.  Studies have shown that eating at least three servings of whole grains (a ½ cup of cooked whole wheat pasta counts as one serving) per day can reduce the risk of chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, cancer, and digestive issues.

Adding large quanaties of veggies to this dish, bulks up to your meal, without adding unwanted calories.  Here we have paired whole wheat pasta with broccoli rabe and radicchio, making this a meal in and of itself!  As your mother always said, “Eat your vegetables.”  So, enjoy a second helping, or see below for accompanying dish ideas.

Eat This With That

Pasta dishes paired with a perfectly prepared side salad will not only fill you up more quickly but, also tastes great.

Fusilli with Broccoli Rabe and Radicchio

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Yields: 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped, optional
  • 2 medium heads radicchio, roughly sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 pound fusilli or any short whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino or Parmigiano cheese

Method

  1. Wash and trim the broccoli rabe, cutting no more than 2 to 3 inches from the florets. Chop the remainder of the stmes into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside.
  2. Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to coat the bottom of a large pan over medium heat and add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovies, if desired. Saute' until the garlic is golden brown and the anchovies have milted into the oil.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the radicchio. Saute' for 2 minutes, then add the broccoli rabe and 1/2 tablespoon of the salt.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and let the mixture cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the broccoli rabe to retain a little crunchiness.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt and the fusilli and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. When it is done, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
  6. Add the pasta and reserved pasta water to the pan with the broccoli rabe; cook for antoher 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Turn off the heat, add the remaining 6 tablespoons of oil, and stir in a good amount of the grated cheese. Top the individual portions with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese, and serve.

NOTE:

Add a mix of leftover veggies to any semolina pasta with some olive oil, a little grated Parmigiano cheese, salt, and pepper. the added complex carbohydrates and fiber of the vegetables slow digestion, so the meal lowers your blood sugar less than it would otherwise. I use whole wheat pasta. Several studies have shown that eating at least three servings of whole grains (a ½ cup of cooked whole wheat pasta counts as one serving) per day can reduce the risk of chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, cancer, and digestive issues.

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