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Saragolla Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe, Burrata & Bottarga

Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:1 hour(s)10 mins

When we want a break from standard Bolognese and pomodoro sauces, we turn to this self-acclaimed "cheffy" and "non-traditional" recipe from Danilo Cortellini—Abruzzo native and former head chef at the Italian Embassy in London—starring heirloom wheat spaghetti, umami-rich bottarga (cured fish roe), buttery burrata and bitter broccoli rabe (or cime de rapa in Italian). If you're having trouble finding broccoli rabe, try mustard greens or chicories instead. 

Recipe by Chef Danilo Cortellini

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4.4 ounces fresh burrata cheese, torn
  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) broccoli rabe
  • 1.4 ounces tuna bottarga, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs
  • Red sorrel for garnish (optional)
  • 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Wash the broccoli rabe, discarding the woody bit at the bottom of the stalks and keep everything else. Divide the large leaves from the stalks and the little tops you find in the middle of each bunch. All parts are delicious but have different cooking times. In salted boiling water, first blanch the stalks for about 5 minutes until tender, then the large leaves for 3 minutes and lastly the tender tops for 2 minutes until cooked but still with a little bite. Cool everything down in iced water to prevent discoloring. Chop the stalks roughly as they will be used to make the puree.

In a separate pan, drizzle olive oil and fry the crushed garlic cloves on medium heat until golden. Add the chopped stalks and fry for about 2 minutes. Now add the leaves and cook for 2 more minutes. Season to taste, add a splash of the broccoli rabe cooking water and blitz with an immersion blender until smooth. Add enough water to be able to blend it easily. If grainy, pass it through a fine sieve. Depending on how leafy your broccoli rabe are, you might have an excess of puree, which can be frozen or even enjoyed on its own.

Drop the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water (you can use the same water used for the greens to achieve extra flavor) and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente. Mix every now and then. Meanwhile in a separate pan, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and heat on low. Drain the pasta and make sure to save a mug of the cooking water.

Drop the pasta into the pan with the oil and add enough broccoli rabe puree to coat it well. Add a splash of pasta water to loosen it up and toss the spaghetti over medium heat to reach a creamy sauce consistency.

Plate and quickly top with the burrata and a pinch of toasted breadcrumbs (I simply crush stale bread and pan toast it with olive oil, salt and pepper). Now drizzle with olive oil, top with thinly sliced bottarga (peel-off the skin first) and garnish with the little broccoli rabe tops, lemon zest and red sorrel leaves.