Sauce of Broccoli Rabe with Anchovies

serves: makes enough for 1 pound of pasta

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup garlic, sliced
½ teaspoon dried peperoncino
3 ounces anchovy fillets, or even more to taste
6 cups broccoli di rape, trimmed, washed and cut into 1-inch lengths
hot water from the pasta cooking pot
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
⅓ cup bread crumbs, pan-toasted


Start cooking the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes before you start the sauce if you are using dry pasta or just after you have started the sauce if using fresh pasta. Pour 1/3 cup of the olive oil into the big skillet, scatter the garlic slices in and set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 1 minute until the sizzling starts.

Toast the peperoncino in a hot spot for 1/2 minute; stir in with the garlic.

Drop the anchovies into the pan and spread them out. Cook for a minute or so, stirring once or twice, until they've started to melt into the oil.

Dump the broccoli di rape pieces in the skillet, place a cover on the pan and let the greens steam and wilt for a minute or so. Uncover and stir the greens around the pan. If the greens were wet from washing, there should be a good layer of liquid in the pan. If there's not, ladle in a cup or so of hot water from the pasta cooking pot.

Stir in another 1-1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and cover the pan. Lower the heat and simmer the greens for 5 minutes or longer, until they're quite tender. Add more pasta water if necessary to keep the greens steaming.

Uncover the pan and reduce the liquid (or add water) so there's just a cup or so surrounding the greens. Keep the sauce hot until the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is done almost al dente, scoop it up and into the skillet to finish cooking. Off the heat, toss in the remaining olive oil. Put individual portions of pasta into warm bowls. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of toasted crumbs on top of each serving and around the rim of the bowl as well.