I recently dined at one my fave restaurants in NYC, Dell’ Anima, with my friend Marcy. There is so much to love about this place. If you’re lucky (or get in early enough in the day,) you can get a seat at the bar overlooking the small kitchen OR at the little nook looking out the window in the front of the restaurant. There’s always lots to see in the West Village of Manhattan. There’s a new menu at Dell’ Anima everyday–though many things stay on during a given season on a more consistent basis. Their daily ‘Bruschette’ selections are always a must. Marcy and I ordered two to share: the Rapini Pesto and the Cannellini Lemon. Wow. Both were packed with flavor. Served pureed and smooth in little bowls with olive oily grilled bread slices to spread them on, we swooned over the two. We especially couldn’t get enough of the Rapini. As we practically licked the bowl, I knew I had to recreate it. While I’m sure my copy cat version posted here does not match what was served that day at Dell’ Anima exactly, it’s pretty damn close. I served this before my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner, and I think I spotted him and my husband licking the bowl themselves… Mission accomplished.
Broccoli Rabe, Walnut, and Pecorino Bruschetta
Olive to Cook original recipe (based on Dell ‘Anima’s Rapini Pesto Bruschette)
1 bunch of broccoli rabe, cleaned, thick stems removed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned and fragrant
pinch of red chili flakes
1 loaf of italian or peasant bread, sliced
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the broccoli rabe for a few minutes until tender. Remove the broccoli rabe from the hot water and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, remove from the ice bath, and squeeze as much water out of the broccoli as you can. Roughly chop.
2. Place the broccoli into a food processor with the garlic and puree until well combined. Add the walnut pieces and broccoli and puree again. Spoon the puree out of the food processor and into a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the pecorino and red chili flakes. Taste for seasoning. It shouldn’t require salt as the pecorino packs a lot of salty flavor. (I added another pinch of red chili flakes at this point–I love spicy!) Cover the puree with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil or spray with olive oil cooking spray. Heat a grill pan on your stove top (or an outdoor grill if you have access to one.) Toast the bread slices on the grill until browned marks appear and the toast is crisp. Serve the toasts next to a bowl of the puree for guests to smother on themselves.