Casarecce Pasta made with Broccolini Rabe made with a rich herb butter sauce and garlic. Instead of using parmesan cheese, I opted for homemade panko breadcrumbs because its so much more fun to it! Best weeknight recipe ever!
“How do you pronounce casarecce?”
A person shopping in the grocery aisle asked me this question about seven years ago. That was the first time I heard of this pasta and it was love at first sight for me!
“Ca-saa-reh-chi” is how you pronounce it. Its really fun to say it, so, try saying it a few times and see how much you will love saying it.
What is casarecce?
Casarecce translates into homemade. I think the word Casa is giveaway, right? Basically, its a loosely folded pasta which makes them very light and fluffly. I found that its better to put them in simple recipes rather than dousing them in heavy sauces like Alfredo sauce or marinara sauce.
This pasta is easily found in the pasta aisle and is often on sale in my local grocery store. But, you can also buy authentic Italian casarecee pasta from (affiliate link) Amazon!
Broccoli vs Broccolini vs Broccolini Rabe (Rapini)
Broccolini rabe is not at all related to any member of the broccoli family.
Shocking, isn’t it?
In fact, its part of the turnip and radish family. It has the same strong, spicy taste like a radish. Even the leaves are edible. I have a post coming soon that will show you how to use up these leaves
Broccolini is a hybrid of regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli which is why it is so delicious! This is also why it can be put into so many recipe.
Broccolini, on the other hand, is a slightly sweeter vegetable. There is a pepperminty and sweeter taste to it.
If you like broccoli in your pasta, check out this pasta with broccoli recipe by The Bella Vita.
How to cook broccolini rabe
Unlike the other veggies that share its name, rabe doesn’t taste good when eaten raw! Trust me, I tried.
I have found that roasted broccolini rabe is the best way to go. Also, I didn’t roast them for more than 5 minutes because I wanted to keep its green color. Quick cooking it also retains its strong flavor and crunchy texture..
You can also blanch broccolini rabe. Add it to boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain them and blanch them immediately. The ice water during the blanching process will keep its color and flavor last longer
For this recipe, I suggest the quick roasting method because it adds just a hint of smokey flavor to the recipe. Plus, its faster than the blanching process.
The buttery sauce you just can’t resist
Have a bunch of herbs that you want to use up before they go bad?
Do what I did in this recipe. I chopped up some of my fresh herbs and added them into this butter sauce. Then, I happily drizzled the herb butter sauce on the casarecce pasta recipe.
It was a very zen experience!!
Subbing breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese
I had also bought ciabatta rolls for my eggplant Parmesan sandwich, but, I didn’t get around to making it. As you may have figured out, it was going stale! I had seen somewhere that breadcrumbs are a better substitute for (Affiliate Link) vegan Parmesan.
I figured that it was a great time to test that theory! I toasted the bread quickly and then ground it into panko breadcrumbs.
Let me tell you that its the best substitute for Parmesan! It added a little crunch to recipe while adding some flavoring to the pasta!
What to serve with it
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Casarecce Pasta With Broccolini Rabe
- 2 cups casarecce uncooked
For roasting the broccolini rabe
- 1 cup broccolini rabe Save about 3 leaves but remove the rest
- 1½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt optional
For the vegan butter sauce
- 7 leaves basil fresh is better
- ½ cup curly parsley loosely packed, fresh is better
- 8 leaves mint fresh is better
- 1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper optional
- 1 tsp water
- 2 Tbsp butter I prefer grass fed butter.
- 1½ Tbsp garlic finely shredded
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp panko bread crumbs Homemade
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes optional
- Cook the pasta according to instructions and make sure its tender
To roast the broccolini rabe
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Mix oil, salt and broccolini rabe in a bowl
- Spread it out on a baking tray and bake for no more than 5 minutes
To make the butter sauce
- In a food processor, blend the fresh herbs, water, salt and pepper
- On the stove top, heat a heavy bottom pan for 30 seconds
- Add the butter and oil
- When it melts, add the garlic and roast for about 30 seconds on low heat
- Add the blended herbs
- Mix well and add the lemon juice
Assembling the pasta
- In a large bowl, add the pasta and the roasted broccolini rabe
- Pour the herb butter sauce but keep very little of it in the pan
- Place the pan back on the stove and add the 3 rabe leaves you saved
- Cook for about 30 seconds on low. Don’t burn them
- Transfer the leaves to the pasta bowl and mix well
- Add the panko bread crumbs and red pepper flakes