healthy eats: fettucini with roasted broccoli rabe + sautéed kale

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After a week that was exhilarating, exhausting, wonderful and frenetic, come the weekend all I want to do is rest, eat delicious food and spend hours with good friends. Today I hit the farmer’s market with vigor, determined to make a simple dish with the healthiest of ingredients. Inspired by Milk + Mode’s recent Spaghetti + Roasted Broccoli Rabe dish, amplified by my obsession with kale, and tempered with my need for a little comfort, I decided to fix a meal that would leave me satisfied.

Spring and autumn are my most revered seasons. I love the markets stocked with earthy greens, blistering-red radishes and rows upon rows of fragrant blooms. I spent an hour in the Union Square Market, buying hyacinths, talking about ramps and snagging heritage sausage. Nothing pleases me more than chatting up proprietors, thinking of new ways to invent simple dishes, and taking photos of all the brilliant bounty.

And I would soon discover the JOY that is young garlic? The cloves are juicy, yielding and unbelievably flavorful. Unlike the garlic you’ll find in most supermarkets, wild garlic is a bit tricky to peel as it isn’t as dry, so you’ll need to exercise patience. But believe me when I say that it’s worth it. Married with the charred florets from the broccoli rabe, the heat from the red pepper flakes and the bitterness of the kale, your dinner will be a symphony of rich, satisfying flavor. I’ll be candid and say that I DO LIKE BROCCOLI. While my distaste is not on the level of the CRUEL MUSHROOM (although I’m realizing the shapes are fairly similar, which is now giving me immense vertigo), I was initially hesitant to try broccoli rabe. But trust me, roasted rabe is nothing like its heartier cousin. Nutty, crisp and a perfect match for kale, I was shocked by how much I LOVED THIS DISH.

AND IT’S HEALTHY!!!

INGREDIENTS: Recipe inspired by Milk + Mode, with modifications
1 (1-lb) bunch broccoli rabe, hollow stems discarded and leaves and remaining stems cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cups of Lacinato kale (or any flat leaf kale, rather than the curly kind), chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, separated
1 pound fettucini
1 head young (spring) garlic, cloves separated, peeled, and sliced thinly
1/2 tsp dried hot red-pepper flakes (to taste)
1/4 tsp crushed black pepper, separated
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4-1/12 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Toss broccoli rabe with 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and 1/8 tsp pepper to taste. Spread out the broccoli rabe on a roasting pan in a single layer, spacing out the pieces as much as possible. Roast for until soft and wilty in some places, and golden brown and charred in others, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions in a big pot of boiling, salted water. Drain in a colander and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add garlic, 1/8 tsp pepper and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is pale golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Toss in the kale and sauté for one minute. Pour over pasta and toss to combine. Add your roasted broccoli rabe and mix thoroughly. Garnish with flowers and cheese if desired. Serve hot.

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