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Orecchiette + Broccoli Rabe & Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto


By: Candice Kumai

This recipe is great for a sexy, fun, hands-on date night. Cook it together, and then savor every bite along with a light Pinot Noir or a classic Chianti.

Makes 2 servings


homemade orecchiette

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup semolina flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

3/4 cup warm water, or more or less depending on dough consistency

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


sun-dried tomato pesto

2 cups fresh basil

1/2 raw almonds

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, strained (if oil packed)

1 garlic clove

broccoli rabe

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped, tough stems removed

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Finishing salt (optional)



To make the dough:

On a clean work surface, combine the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and sea salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and add approximately 1/4 cup of warm water. Using a fork, working from the inside in a circular motion, begin to incorporate the flour and liquid. Continue adding water until a dough forms. Knead well on a lightly floured board until the dough is smooth and elastic. This may take 20 minutes or so.

Form the dough into a ball, wrap it with plastic, and place it in the fridge to firm up for at least 1 hour.


To make the pesto:

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend well! Add more or less olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and so on to taste.


To make the orecchiette:

Pull off a scant handful of the dough, keeping the rest of the dough covered. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter.


Cut the rope into slices no more than 1/8 inch thick to form small circles of dough. Put one of these circles into the cupped palm of your hand and, with the thumb of the other hand, press and turn the circle at the same time to form a dent in the center that will spread the dough a little on each side. It should look like a small ear, with slightly thicker earlobes. Repeat with all of the remaining dough, placing the orecchiette on a lightly floured cloth as they are made.


To make the broccoli rabe:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the garlic and broccoli rabe and cook until tender, approximately 6 minutes. Finish by sprinkling with the chili flakes. Add sea salt as needed. Set aside.


To finish:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orecchiette until they float to the surface, approximately 4 minutes. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the orecchiette to a large bowl.


Toss the pasta with the pesto to coat and add the sautéed broccoli rabe. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan or finishing salt, such as Maldon, if desired.


keep it sexy: Want to impress your date even more? Have the ingredients on hand to prepare my Port- Soaked Cherry and Dark Chocolate Brownies. Save some of the port wine from the recipe to drink with dessert. Warning: This may lead to an over-the-top makeout session!



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