Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Susan from Food Blogga

Serves 4

1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons raisins (soaked in a little white wine)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cans sardines in olive oil, drained
2 teaspoons lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
8 ounces rigatoni

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Boil broccoli rabe for 1 ½-2 minutes; drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Shocking the rabe will maintain its vivid green color and stop it from cooking.

Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with some dry white wine. Let them soak about 10 minutes to become infused with the flavor of the wine.

Crush the pine nuts. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat add the pine nuts and breadcrumbs. Shake pan in a back-and-forth motion until they are are golden and aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add garlic and shallots, sauteing 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drain the broccoli rabe, pat dry, and add to the skillet.
Meanwhile, drain the sardines and remove the backbones. Using a fork, break sardines
into small pieces and add to the skillet. Add the drained raisins, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, and salt. Sauté 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in salted water according to directions, being sure to keep it al dente. Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the broccoli rabe mixture, and toss in the toasted bread crumb mixture and fresh parsley.

Plate the pasta, finishing it off with a drizzle of quality extra virgin olive oil.