Bowties and Spicy Broccoli Rabe with Crunchy Crumbs

Bowties and Spicy Broccoli Rabe with Crunchy Crumbs
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings


  • 1 head garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves and base of each clove trimmed
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 dinner roll, finely ground
  • 1 pint ricotta cheese


Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with water. Add the garlic, bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes; transfer the garlic to a plate. Reserve the saucepan of boiling water. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and halve lengthwise.

Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook until the stems are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse with cold water until cool.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved broccoli rabe and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, stir in the chile and transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe the skillet clean, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of the dinner roll breadcrumbs (reserve any remainder for another use) and cook, stirring, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and return to the pot. Stir in the ricotta and reserved pasta water, then the broccoli rabe mixture; season with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 plates and top with the crunchy breadcrumbs.