J:

What with the holidays, it turns out I'm not too many Sunday
Dinner's behind. I made one two weeks ago, and another just
this past Sunday. This is from two weeks ago.

I don't know if you remember the Puttanesca and Cabbage-Potato
Soup night, but there were only a few people there. As it
turned out, none of them was there two weeks ago, so I figured
I could repeat myself. But then, when I got to the store, they
had rapini on sale, so I switched the pasta from Puttanesca to
the Rapini and Sun Dried Tomato pasta that I invented, but kept
the soup. You should still have the soup recipe and it was a
hit with this crowd too -- surprising considering how simple
and peasant-like it is. Make it sometime.

For the pasta, you'll need (I swore I'd pay attention and
remember it all, but it *was* two weeks ago):

6-8 shallots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 of a 2 lb jar of sundried tomatoes in olive oil, drained,
chopped (I guess I could have said 2/3 lb, your jar sizes
may vary)
olive oil, your own, or drained from the tomatoes
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
white wine, a couple cups maybe?
2 bunches rapini (2 lbs?), rinsed well, drained, coarsely
chopped
2 lbs fettucinni

In a big heavy pot or dutch oven, put a couple tablespoons
olive oil. Add the shallots, onion, and garlic and saute for a
few minutes, until soft. Add the tomatoes and red pepper and
saute for another few minutes. Add enough wine to cover the
solid stuff and let it start to simmer. Turn the heat to high
and add the rapini. Stir it for a while until the rapini
shrinks and cooks. Turn the heat to low. Add some more wine
so that you sort of have a thin sauce. You're going to let
this simmer so the wine reduces and thickens. Serve over
cooked pasta.

I've let this simmer for as long as an hour and as short as 15
minutes. If it simmers longer, you may need to add more wine.
If you add too much wine, you'll need to let it simmer longer.
If you're not ready to serve dinner, let it simmer longer or
add more wine or both. If you're ready to serve dinner and
it's too thin, stall. I think you get the idea.

I think the bitterness of the rapini, the sweetnes of the wine,
and the acidity of the tomatoes really work well together, but
if you don't like the balance, play with the ratios. If it's
too bitter, use more (or sweeter) wine. If it's too dull, use
more tomatoes. If it's too bland, use more garlic or red
pepper. Let me know what you try.

The oil from the tomatoes, and the chopped up stuff sort of
work to thicken it. Sometimes I use fresh chopped tomatoes
too, which also thicken a little. But, don't be disappointed
if the sauce doesn't completely stick to all the pasta.
Actually, most of the good stuff will end up at the bottom of
the serving pot, if you toss it all together. Make sure
everyone gets some from the bottom.

See also My Rapini Pasta for My Birthday, added September 2000.

Enjoy,

Bruce