Pleasantly bitter broccoli rabe, lightly sharp feta cheese, and refreshing mint perk up tomato sauce in an inventive meatless meal. Sheep’s milk cheese lends a fresh, authentic flavor. This pasta is so satisfying that you won’t need a side dish!
Broccoli Rabe, Feta, and Mint Pasta
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
Red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz./875 g.) Italian tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 bunches broccoli rabe (about 1 3/4 lb./875 g. total weight), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm.) pieces
14 1/2-16 oz. (410-500 g.) rotini pasta, preferably multigrain
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
3/4 cup (1/4 lb./125 g.) feta cheese, crumbled
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and 2 large pinches of red pepper flakes to the pan and saute until the onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) water and bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens and the flavors blend, 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until just tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to a bowl. Add the pasta to the pot, stir well, and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. Return the broccoli rabe to the pot and cook until heated through, about 30 seconds.
Drain the pasta and broccoli rabe. Return to the same pot. Add the sauce and mint and stir to coat. Mix in 1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g.) of the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the pasta to a warmed shallow bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve right away. Serves 4.