Sunday, November 16, 2008

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Seitan

This is what we did for our blog anniversary. It may not make the next top ten list but it's interesting (to me anyway) because I've never cooked with broccoli rabe before. Broccoli rabe (aka Rapini) is more like a bitter green than like broccoli and it has a very pungent flavor, a little bit akin to mustard greens I guess.

I got this idea from a cooking show we happened upon last weekend on PBS. There was an Italian woman on there making orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage (and also lots of butter and cheese). I was intrigued and I figured I could easily veganize something like this, thereby leaving out a lot of fat (and a lot of cruelty). I didn't recall her exact recipe or even what show we were watching but I remembered the general idea. Which goes like this:

1 lb. package orecchiette (or other small pasta)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lb. seitan, diced (see following recipe)
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 lb. broccoli rabe, coarsely chopped and thick stems removed
1 Tbs. tomato paste
2 c. vegetable broth
1 tsp. dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

In a large deep pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add seitan and cook for several minutes until it's getting brown. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add broccoli rabe, cook until wilted then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. While all this is happening, cook the orecchiette in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the broccoli rabe and seitan. We served ours garnished with parsley.

And note that if you want the broccoli rabe to look brighter and not as drab as in my picture, serve immediately and don't let it sit on the burner over low heat while you try to get your baby to bed.

Here's how I made the seitan:

Italian Style Seitan Patties

3/4 c. + 2 Tbs. wheat gluten
1/4 c. chickpea flour
3 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. fennel seed (crushed with a mortar & pestle if you have one)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 c. white beans
3/4 c. water
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. soy sauce

In a large bowl, mix together gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt, herbs and spices. In another bowl, mash the beans very well with a potato masher then mix in water, oil and soy sauce (you could do this in a blender too). Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix well then divide into 6 equal portions. If you have a kitchen scale now would be a good time to use it but if not you can just eyeball it. Form each portion into a thin 3 1/2" patty and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, flip patties then bake another 10 minutes.


Vegetation said...

Mmm yum! I love Orrechiette and this looks delicious.

funwithyourfood said...

I love orecchiette.. that means little ear right?


vegannifer said...

It sounds like you were watching Lidia's Italian Kitchen. I love that show even though it is very meat-y. Italian is so easy to veganize, though, and you did a great job with this dish!

Anonymous said...

I also watch Lidia's Italian Kitchen and every time it looks like she's going to make a vegan dish, she's ruins it by dumping on a ton of cheese!

AutumnTao said...

FYI- If the rabe was bitter, I've always found that boiling it for 3 minutes and following with an ice bath before using it in an recipe makes it delectable. Thanks for the inspiration.

Susan said...

I am addicted to brocoli rabe, I love sauteeing it with some seasoning sauce to make a nommish green side.
The pasta dish looks great. I'm going to try the Italian Seitan.