Fusilli with Broccoli Rabe and Spicy Olive Oil

Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a Main Course
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Pasta and fresh greens with lively seasonings make a quick, easy supper. If broccoli rabe isn’t available, use an equal amount of other bitter greens, such as chard, escarole, kale, or a combination.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • ½ cup strips (1 to 2 inches) red (bell) pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 pound fusilli, penne, or other tubular pasta
  • 10 ounces broccoli rabe, escarole, or broccoli, stems trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths (about 6 cups)


    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is light golden and soft, about 6 minutes. Transfer garlic to a saucer; mash to a paste with a fork and set aside.
    3. Add the red pepper strips and crushed red pepper to the hot oil. Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the edges of the peppers brown slightly. Remove the skillet from heat.
    4. Add salt to the boiling water, add the fusilli, and boil for 8 minutes, or until slightly undercooked. Stir in the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring often, until fusilli and greens are tender, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
    5. Drain fusilli and greens, shaking the colander over the cooking pot, so that about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid drains into the pot. Transfer the pasta and greens to a serving dish and add the reserved cooking liquid, the mashed garlic, and the oil-pepper mixture. Toss and serve immediately.