Cavatelli with Roasted Broccoli Rabe & Harissa


Broccoli rabe rarely makes it into the oven; most cooks sauté or braise it instead. But roasting brings out its sweetness even more. Michael Natkin uses the smart technique for a fast pasta with cavatelli, smoked paprika and the Tunisian chile paste harissa. Slideshow: Fast Pastas 

Cavatelli with Roasted Broccoli Rabe & Harissa
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
35 mins


  • 1 1/4 pounds broccoli rabe, ends trimmed

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 Fresno or jalapeño chile, seeded and thinly sliced

  • 2 teaspoons harissa

  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

  • 1 pound cavatelli

  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves, chopped

  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a bowl, toss the broccoli rabe with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the broccoli rabe on 2 baking sheets and roast for 15 minutes, until crisp-tender, then chop.

  2. In a deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, chile and harissa and cook over moderate heat, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and smoked paprika and cook until tender, 2 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta, cooking water and 1/4 cup of Parmigiano to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the pasta is coated in a thick sauce, 2 minutes. Stir in the herbs and serve with more cheese.

Suggested Pairing

Green vegetables go best with bright, citrusy whites, like Austrian Grüner Veltliner.

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