By cooking pasta shells in vegetable stock instead of water, the pasta is prepared as you would risotto. The addition of broccoli rabe brings spicy exotic flavors to this delectable pasta-risotto hybrid. This recipe comes to us from Vivian of Macca’s Meatless Monday.
- 1 quart reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 quart water
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pound medium pasta shells or orzo, uncooked
- 1 can chickpeas or canellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan*
In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring broth, water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently.
Trim tough stem ends off broccoli rabe. Cut remaining stems crosswise into 1-inch pieces and reserve. Coarsely chop florets and leaves.
Heat oil in a 5 quart heavy pot over medium-high heat for one minute. Sauté onion with ½ teaspoon salt for about 3-5 minutes, or until onion is softened. Stir in garlic and sauté 1 minute more.
Add pasta, broccoli rabe stems and 3/4 cup hot broth and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue cooking and adding hot broth, about ¾ cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next for about 12-13 minutes, or until pasta is almost al dente and creamy-looking. There will be some broth left over.
Stir in remaining broccoli rabe, beans and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes, or until pasta is al dente and broccoli rabe is just tender. If needed, add more hot broth to moisten. Stir in cheese, if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste.