Ok, I give. Over the past few weeks, I actually haven’t been making much Italian food that I hadn’t already written about here. What’s to say about my old favorites like pasta with broccoli, peppers or simply butter and oil? With all the travel I did in March, and an April packed with lots to think about in the personal life, there simply hasn’t been much to say. My apologies for falling silent. I hadn’t realized that I actually had all that many regular readers! (Speak up with the comments here, guys!)
While I do have a restaurant review from Le Virtu, a relatively new restaurant in South Philly which finally accomplishes what so many Italian BYOBs here hadn’t: authenticity, and I do have a humble tale of overcooked fusilli bucati corti, for now, I’m more inspired to write about what I cooked tonight: orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, a dish I had, until now, never actually made before.
It all began with a long overdue trip out to the suburban grocery store Genuardi’s, a Safeway store with offerings far more expansive than my typical stops at Trader Joe’s and the African food truck. I perimeter shop in these big stores, getting inspired by the plethora and variety of the fresh fruits and vegetables: snow peas, asparagus, baby spinach, broccoli rabe, small zucchini, Campari tomatoes … You can find just about everything you like all in one stop. Go figure. Looks like I’m in for a good week. 🙂
Disclaimer: Everyone’s got their own way of doing orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, and I never actually ate it in Italy, so this is what I came up with on a post-Spin endorphin high. I’ve chosen sweet over spicy, matching my demeanor this season. Here’s what I did:
Slice half a vidalia onion and saute the half rings in a few tablespoons of olive oil until soft.
Cut up some sweet Italian sausage (more rings) and cook with the onion.
Add a whole lot of chopped broccoli rabe the pan and saute until cooked (about 5-10 minutes). I used a bit of chicken broth to help steam the greens.
Add cooked orecchiette pasta to the pan and saute until coated with the rabe. I added a few more tablespoons of olive oil here, as the pasta looked dry.
Serve with microzested cheese. I had a grana padano in my fridge, but I think that the more typical pecorino romano would have added a layer of zing to the dish.
My take on this? While Genuardi’s sweet Italian sausage was relatively lean, it lacked flavor. I’d much prefer the dish without the meat, unless I got my hands on some Parma sausage ‘n ‘at from ‘dahn’a ‘ Strip in Pittsburgh. I photographed the nondescript storefront last month: