The title of this recipe surely has at least 1 word you might find difficult to understand or pronounce. Let’s rule out Spaghetti and burrata, shall we?
Now for those who don’t know what bottarga is, the answer is simple, cured and dried fish roe sac. Originally produced in Sardinia is now widely available for foodies everywhere to enjoy. I know it does not sound appealing but trust me on this, the flavor profile is rich, umami, and unforgettable.
Cime di Rapa could be translated as turnip tops but this translation won’t do it justice. This southern Italian veg is technically a green leafy turnip but with its bitter/spicy flavor, it is more similar to mustard leaves or wild chicory. Lastly, Saragolla, this is a difficult one even for Italians. Saragolla is the sole type of durum wheat used by Rustichella d’Abruzzo to produce this amazing pasta. 100% Italian and organic, this type of ancient wheat gives us a much more rustic pasta, with lower gluten content, higher proteins level, and nevertheless very tasty. If you are curious about trying pasta made with less refined flour, I urge you to put this one on the list too!!!
I know this recipe could be seen as cheffy and controversial for some (my mum would think I am nuts to serve burrata with fish roes) but I am not too far away from tradition. What’s important for me is to keep the utmost respect for ingredients and achieving a balanced flavor in my dishes.
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- 300 g of Spaghettone di Saragolla ‘Rustichella d’Abruzzo’
- 125 g of fresh burrata cheese
- 400 g of Cime di Rapa
- 40 g of tuna bottarga
- 2 garlic cloves
- Zest of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp of toasted coarse breadcrumbs
- Red sorrel to garnish (optional)
- 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Wash the Cime di Rapa, discard the woody bit at the bottom of the stalks, and keep everything else. Divide the large leaves from the stalks and the little tops you find in the middle of each bunch (puntarella means little tops). All parts are delicious but have different cooking times. Blanch in salted boiling water the stalks first for about 5 minutes until tender, then the large
leaves for 3 minutes and lastly the tender tops for 2 minutes until cooked but still with a little ‘bite”. Cool everything down in iced water to prevent discoloring.
Chop the stalks roughly as they will be used to make the puree
In a separate pan drizzle olive oil and fry the crushed garlic cloves on medium heat until golden. Add the chopped stalks and fry for about 2 minutes. Now add the leaves and cook for 2 more minutes. Season to taste, add a splash of the Cime di Rapa cooking water, and blitz until smooth. Add enough water to be able to blend it easily. If grainy pass it through a fine sieve. Depending on how leafy you Cime di Rapa was, you might have an excess of puree, this can be frozen or even enjoyed on its own.
Now drop the Spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water (you can use the same water used for the greens to achieve extra flavor) and cook until ‘al dente’ for about 8 minutes. Mix every now and then. Meanwhile in a separate pan heat lightly a nice drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Drain the pasta and make sure to save a mug of the cooking water.
Drop the pasta into the pan with the oil and add enough Cime di Rapa puree to coat it well. Add a splash of pasta water to losing it up and toss the spaghetti over medium heat to reach a creamy sauce consistency.
Plate in a large plate and quickly top with the scrambled seasoned burrata and a pinch of toasted breadcrumbs (I simply crush stale bread and pan toast it with olive oil, salt, and pepper). Now drizzle with olive oil, top with thinly sliced bottarga (peel-off the skin first), and garnish with the little Cime di Rapa tops, lemon zest, and red sorrel leaves.
Recipe by Danilo Cortellini