Orecchiette Cime di Rape e Vongole
Orecchiette alle Cime di Rape is one of the stalwarts of Pugliese cuisine. This version, with strascinati (a type of orecchiette) and vongole we had in a restaurant we really love, L’Osteria del Porto, in the small fishing village of Savelletri – just south of coastal gem Monopoli. Serves 4.
300 gr freshly made strascinati or orecchiette. (click on this link on how to make your own strascinati)
500 gr Cime di Rapa, stems removed, leaves cut into 5 cm lengths. Include the broccoli if you can find it.
400 gr clams (of the verace variety – so not too small)
A small glass of wine
10 cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove
Put a large pan of water to the boil with abundant salt. Add the Cime di Rapa for 3 minutes to soften, then remove with a slotted perforated, and set aside, keeping the water boiling (if some bits or leaves of the vegetable remain in the water it doesn’t matter).
Gently sauté the garlic clove in a generous amount of olive oil, removing it before it starts burning. Turn up the heat, and add the thinly sliced peperoncino for a few seconds, then the quartered cherry tomatoes and cook until their skins soften and start separating from the pulp, and the juices flow in the pan. Add the wine, let the alcohol boil out, then the cooked Cime di Rapa, mix, cover for 3 minutes on a medium heat. .
Turn the heat back up, uncover and add the cleaned vongole. Cover again, keeping the heat high and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. In the meantime put the pasta in the boiling water and cook for about 1 minutes, drain and add to the pasta sauce, cooking them together for the last 2 minutes, making sure the strascinati are fully coated in sauce and oil. Take off the heat, plate and drizzle some fresh evoo, such a Torre di Mossa from De Carlo .