Casarecce Pasta made with Broccolini Rabe in a rich herb butter pasta sauce and fresh garlic adds so much flavor! Made with simple ingredients, this delicious casarecce pasta recipe can be enjoyed by the whole family. Best dinner for busy weeknights!
“How do you pronounce casarecce?”
A person shopping in the grocery aisle asked me this question while showing me a twisted shape. I thought I knew all the pasta shapes, but these casarecce noodles took me by surprise.
I discovered that this type of pasta is pronounced, “Ca-saa-reh-chi”. It’s the perfect shape for pasta, right?
Instead of using parmesan cheese, I opted for homemade panko breadcrumbs because it’s so much more fun to it. Topped with red pepper flakes for a little kick.
What is casarecce?
Casarecce translates into homemade. It’s a twisted pasta shape that was commonly used in southern Italy. Eventually, northern Italy started using it and now, it can be found everywhere.
Since they are so light and fluffy when cooked, I found that it’s better to put them in simple recipes rather than dousing them in heavy tomato sauce, creamy Alfredo sauce, chunky sauces, or marinara sauce. Creamy sauces take away from the texture of this pasta.
This pasta is easily found in the pasta aisle and is often on sale in my local grocery stores. But, you can also buy a good quality Italian casarecce pasta from (affiliate link) Amazon!
🍝 Cooking tip: Cook the pasta al dente and discard the pasta water. Since the sauce has a butter base, the pasta water will not mix with the sauce.
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, it’s part of the turnip and radish family. It has the same strong, spicy taste as 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 Italian recipes.
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 their 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
The buttery sauce you just can’t resist
Have a bunch of herbs that you want to use up before they go bad? In my house, fresh basil leaves are always going bad.
Do what I did in this recipe. I chopped up some of my fresh herbs and grass-fed butter into a large skillet. After the butter and herbs had blended, I happily drizzled it on the cooked pasta.
Cook this flavorful sauce on medium heat until the butter and herbs have fully mixed up. If you don’t like butter, go with extra virgin olive oil.
🪵 Handy Tip: Use a wooden spoon to make the pasta sauce. Wood doesn’t react with the butter.
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. 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.
If you do love cheese in your pasta, my suggestions would be to use pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano. They will give this pasta dish a little of a nutty flavor.
Let me tell you that it’s the best substitute for Parmesan! It makes this a very flavorful dish! Don’t be surprised if this becomes a very popular pasta recipe in your home.
What to serve with it
This casarecce pasta dinner can be a first course meal or as a side dish. Either way, it’s the perfect dish!
Store leftover pasta in an airtight container and use within a week. Add fresh vegetables of your choice (roasted eggplant) and even cherry tomatoes. Top it with red pepper flakes and/or black pepper.
I can easily eat one large bowl of this recipe. The good news is that it’s not a heavy dish, so I don’t feel bloated after.
Sharing is caring
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Casarecce Pasta With Broccolini Rabe
- 2 cups casarecce uncooked
For roasting the broccolini rabe
For the vegan butter sauce
- 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