Shells with Broccoli Rabe
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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Shells with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 to 5 servings



  1. Bring a large (11 by 5 1/2-inch) pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Remove and discard the bottom third of the broccoli rabe and slice the rest crosswise in 2-inch pieces. When the water boils, cook the broccoli rabe for 2 to 3 minutes, until just tender. With a wire skimmer or tongs, lift the broccoli rabe (don’t drain the pot!) into a large bowl and set aside. Bring the water back to a boil, add the shells, and cook al dente according to the directions on the package. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large (12-inch) sauté pan, add the pancetta, and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is browned. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the broccoli rabe and red pepper flakes and toss well. Add the cooked shells, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper and toss. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until all the ingredients are heated through, adding enough of the reserved cooking water so the pasta isn’t dry. Serve hot in large shallow bowls with a large dollop of ricotta and drizzled with olive oil, and with grated Parmesan on the side.

Cook’s Note

The only way to truly make 1/4-inch-diced pancetta is to buy one big chunk and cut it yourself. Delis often slice it much too thin.