This past month, Il Fornaio's Festa Regionale Menu showcased the cuisine of Puglia, the heel of the boot, including a pasta called spaghettoni. Spaghettoni was the foundation for one of the featured pastas, Spaghettoni con Salsiccia e Rapini, made with the artisan pasta, sausage, rapini (aka broccoli rabe), tomatoes, garlic, basil, peperoncino and pecorino cheese. A package of the pasta was a gift (or "door prize" as we like to call it) to loyal guests who are Passaporto holders, and who order from the Festa Regionale menu.
We love attending the invitation only Tuesday Night Tastings when the menu is released at the beginning of the month. The lovely Jennifer hosted, and Edgar was our dedicated server.
|Jennifer and Edgar at Il Fornaio's Tuesday Night Tasting|
|Burrata di Andria|
Burrata cheese with sliced vine-ripened tomatoes, oregano and baby arugula; drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil
|Edgar serving Spaghettoni con Salsiccia e Rapini|
|Il Fornaio's Spaghettoni con Salsiccia e Rapini|
With our spaghettoni door prize in hand, and the recipe printed on the card attached, I was easily able to prepare this wonderful pasta at home.
Spaghettoni is slightly thicker and longer than spaghetti. If you can't find it, substitute spaghetti or bucatini. Rapini, also known as broccoli rabé or broccoletti, is commonly used in the cuisines of southern Italy, northwestern Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and China, and is now grown throughout the world. It has many spiked leaves that surround clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. Small, edible yellow flowers may be blooming among the buds. The flavor of rapini has been described as nutty, bitter, and pungent, but any bitterness is nicely mellowed by cooking.
In Il Fornaio's recipe, the stems of the rapini are cut off and used to flavor the pasta water, and then removed before the pasta is added. The leaves and buds are briefly cooked with the pasta (added about a minute before it is al dente), and drained with the pasta. The pasta and rapini are then added to the pan with the prepared sauce, tossed gently until coated with sauce, and then plated.
|Mise en place - Spaghettoni con Salsiccia e Rapini|
|Spaghettoni con Salsiccia e Rapini|
To watch a video of Executive Chef Maurizio Mazzon preparing Spaghettoni con Salsiccia e Rapini, click here. For a downloadable PDF of the recipe for Spaghettoni con Salsiccia e Rapini, click here.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this pasta.