This pasta dish can be served warm or room temperature. You can substitute spinach or swiss chard for the rapini, if you prefer. You can also make this dish vegetarian - see note at the bottom.
- Kosher salt
- 1 bunch rapini (about 1 lb/454gr), roughly chopped
- 6 strips bacon, chopped or cut with kitchen scissors
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ tsp crushed red chile flakes
- 9 oz (250gr) orecchiette
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest
- 4 oz (113gr) goat cheese, softened (CrossWind Farms Chèvre with Cracked Black Pepper recommended)
Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil. Add rapini and boil until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rapini to a large bowl of ice water; chill. Drain rapini, pat dry, and set aside.
Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. When done, drain pasta and set aside.
Brown bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain the bacon fat leaving about 3 tablespoons in the skillet. If there isn't enough bacon drippings, add oil (see note below). Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add chile flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 seconds. Add the crisped bacon back to the skillet. Add rapini, toss, and remove pan from heat.
Add pasta and lemon zest to the skillet. Toss to combine and season to taste with salt. Transfer to a serving platter and dot with dollops of goat cheese.
Pair with Sauvignon Blanc.
Note: if you want to omit the bacon, use 3 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Grapeseed, camelina, avocado, or virgin olive oil are recommended for medium to high heat cooking.