Put up two large pots of water and bring to a boil. While the water heats, wash and cut the rapini into thirds and set aside. Thinly slice the garlic cloves and combine in a small bowl with the fennel, salt, and chilis and set aside.
Spiced Chickpea + Rapini Pasta
500 grams good quality pasta
2 bunches rapini
1 cup cooked Flourist Kabuli Chickpeas
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves thinly sliced garlic
1 tsp fresh or dried chilis
1 tsp salt, or to taste
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 cup grated cheese, such as pecorino Romano or Parmesan
When the first pot of water boils, add the rapini all at once and cook on a medium boil for 10 minutes. Once the other pot of water is boiling, turn the heat to low and leave it, as this will be for cooking the pasta in a few minutes. Once the rapini is cooked, drain and set in a bath of ice water to cool for 2 minutes. Remove from the ice bath and drain.
Next, use the empty rapini cooking pot to heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the sliced garlic, fennel, salt, and chilis and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is soft. Remove the pot from the heat and add the chickpeas and rapini. Set aside.
Next, bring the pasta water back to a full boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Once the pasta is cooking, place the chickpea and rapini pot back on the heat at medium-high. Using a small ladle, add a scoop of pasta cooking water to the chickpea and rapini mixture, using the back of a spoon to break down the rapini as it cooks (adding the starchy pasta water will help to create a ‘creamy’ sauce). Continue to simmer the sauce, adding more pasta water as necessary to keep it from drying out.
When the pasta is finished cooking, drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Reserve some of the pasta water. With a large spoon, mix the pasta into the sauce, carefully continuing to break down the rapini. If the sauce seems dry, add small amounts of reserved pasta water to help break down the rapini.
Once done, taste to adjust salt and place the pasta on a serving platter or in individual bowls. Finish with good quality olive oil and shaved cheese of choice. A squeeze of fresh lemon is also a good idea.