This Quick Tomato & Rapini Pasta is super simple, packed with flavour and perfect for a meatless, weeknight meal!
I have pretty simple taste; my favourite sandwich is turkey, I eat peanut butter on toast for breakfast most days and my preferred pasta sauce is tomato. Call me basic, I just see it as being easy to please. I’m embarrassed to admit it but I used to always buy jarred tomato sauce at the store because making my own intimidated me. I now love making pasta sauce at home; it is one million times better!
My boyfriend likes to pretend he’s Italian; he makes incredible pasta though! We’ve made a very simple tomato sauce a few times now, and I had every intention to share it on the blog this week. Turns out I forgot to buy half of the very few ingredients it required. However, we did have some rapini on hand and voila! This Quick Tomato & Rapini Pasta was born! Enjoy!
Quick Tomato & Rapini Pasta
- Olive oil – a good source of unsaturated fats, important for the prevention of cardiovascular disease
- Garlic – the amount of garlic most people eat at a time isn’t really going to provide any serious nutritional benefit but obviously, garlic is delicious and if you enjoy it, use it!
- Onion – the same goes for onion. If you want a softer, sweeter flavour, opt for 3 or 4 diced shallots!
- Anchovies – I was skeptical too, but the small amount of anchovies in this recipe disintegrates and you won’t even notice it! Anchovies are super high in protein, but I only used one so it probably doesn’t count!
- Rapini – this incredible green provides us with some fibre, protein, Vitamin C and iron! If you don’t like rapini, swap it out for another green.
- Cherry tomatoes – I love tomatoes as a source of Vitamin C, which I highlighted in my Orzo Salad recipe.
- Salt, pepper & chili flakes – for all that delicious flavour!
- Lemon juice – this adds some bright flavour (and a bit of Vitamin C) to the sauce!
- Butter – I used a tiny but just to thicken the sauce a bit, but you could skip this step!
- Parmesan – pasta is nothing without parmesan, which also provides some fat, protein and calcium!
- Spaghetti – I prefer this dish with a long noodle, but you do you! Feel free to swap in whole wheat or chickpea pasta if that’s your thing!
What is Rapini?
So what is that green thing I keep talking about? Rapini, also known as broccoli raab, is in the broccoli family and is popular in Chinese and Italian cooking. It is much more bitter than broccoli, but it is delicious if cooked properly. All you have to do to prep it is wash, dry and chop off the rough ends. The bitter taste of rapini comes from enzymes in the vegetable which are activated when it is cut or chewed; to avoid bitterness, chop rapini as little as possible. I chopped mine into thirds. I’ve also been loving putting rapini on pizza with Italian sausage, and I’d imagine it’s delicious in soups in replacement of kale, like my Minestrone Soup recipe.
Nutrient Spotlight: Fibre
Let’s talk about fibre today since we know that veggies are a great source of fibre! Sidenote: is it fibre or fiber? I have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and I am still not sure. Fibre is a carbohydrate that passes through your gastrointestinal system without being digested. So if you don’t digest it, why should you care? You probably know fibre as being something that helps keep you regular. It’s the insoluble fibre that does this and can be found in some green veggies, whole wheat and nuts!
Soluble fibre regulates cholesterol levels and helps control blood sugar levels. You can find it in things like apples, carrots, oranges, grains, beans and lentils. Should you be worried about which type of fibre is in which foods? Probably not. If you’re eating a balanced diet with lots of variety, you’re probably okay. According to UnlockFood, adult women need about 25g per day, while men need 38g.
Quick Tomato & Rapini Pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 white onion, diced finely
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1-2 anchovies
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup rapini, chopped into halves or thirds
- 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 200 g spaghetti pasta is so hard to estimate, but I used about half a small package
- 1 tbsp butter
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (grate a little bit extra for topping)
- Prepare all ingredients ahead of time (onion, garlic, rapini, tomatoes, parmesan). This will make for easier cooking!
- Fill a large pot with water and heat on high until it comes to a boil.
- In a large saucepan, add oil and heat on low-medium.
- Once oil is hot, add onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, until they start to become translucent.
- Next, add garlic, anchovy, salt, pepper and red chili flakes.
- Add rapini and cook for 2 minutes or until it begins to soften.
- Add tomatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes. Stir every few minutes so that they don't burn. Once cooked, squish slightly with a back of a spoon.
- Once water boils, add spaghetti in and cook until al dente (mine was about 9 minutes).
- Add butter and lemon juice to sauce, allowing butter to melt.
- Fill a small mug with pasta water and add to tomato sauce. Once mixed in, the sauce should become thicker and glossy. If that's not the case add a bit more pasta water. If it seems too watery, bring up the heat and allow some of the liquid to cook off.
- Once pasta is done, drain and add to sauce. Remove from heat.
- Add parmesan and mix immediately and quickly, so the cheese doesn't become stringy.