Tuesday, April 15, 2008

In Season: Broccoli Raab

I'm so lucky to be able to scour the bounty of our farmers' markets for what I think is some of the freshest, best-grown produce in the region (if not the country). Our moderate climate and fabulous soil, not to mention the food culture that's developed here in Oregon, makes it one of the few places in the country where small farms are flourishing rather than being lost to unchecked growth or corporatization.

Lately I've been fascinated with a green called broccoli raab that is available fresh at the markets for only a brief window in the spring. Last night we had an amazingly simple pasta dish of fresh leeks and raab sauteed with (what else?) bacon that was mind-blowingly flavorful and made for a quick one-dish meal. It got the Triple D (for triple deeeelicious) rating from the fam, and is a can't-miss pitch even for your greens-averse types.

Pasta with Leeks and Raab

1 lb. penne or other pasta
4 slices bacon, cut in 1/4" strips
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 leeks, halved and cut 1/2" crosswise slices
1 bunch broccoli raab, stems trimmed and chopped in 1/2" pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. parmesan or romano cheese, grated

Boil large pot of water and add salt (John Gorham of Toro Bravo says it should be as salty as sea water). When it reaches a rolling boil, add 1 lb. penne pasta.

In deep saute or frying pan, saute bacon till fat is rendered. Add olive oil if it seems too dry, then add garlic and leeks and saute. When leeks start to wilt, add raab and saute till stems are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When pasta is al dente, drain and put in serving bowl. Top with bacon and vegetables, sprinkle with some of the cheese and serve the remainder alongside.


kim said...

So I bought Brussels sprouts raab at the PFM this weekend, and amazingly I haven't used it yet; maybe I'll try substituting it in this recipe? I'll let you know how it goes!

kab said...

Let me know how it turns out...especially if you customize it!