Spicy tempeh & broccoli rabe with rotelle recipe

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We still adore the bittersweet flavor of broccoli rabe (also called broccoli rape, rapini, or rabini) matched with whole wheat pasta and peppery braised tempeh. Spiral-shaped pasta nicely captures the tiny bits of tempeh, red pepper, and olive oil, but substitute any shape you like, or use one of the new and hearty bean-based pastas out there, made with chickpeas, edamame, or lentils of all kinds. Our recipes testers loved how it was a perfect balance of pasta, protein, and greens; we love that it’s fast, fun to make, and pleases even the most die-hard Italian sausage ’n’ pasta fan.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 40 Minutes


  • ½ pound whole wheat or bean-based rotelle or other spiral-shaped pasta
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
Spicy Fennel Tempeh
  • 1 (15-ounce) package tempeh, cubed
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable broth, purchased or homemade
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Broccoli Rabe
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (½ to ¾ pound), tough stems trimmed, chopped coarsely
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine, water, or vegetable broth, purchased or homemade
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions, usually about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, toss with a teaspoon or two of the oil, and keep covered either in a large, covered serving bowl or the cooking pot. While your pasta is boiling, prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Prepare the Tempeh
  3. First, we’ll steam the tempeh in a spicy marinade. In a measuring cup, whisk together the vegetable broth, tomato paste, soy sauce, garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, oregano, and vinegar. Combine the marinade with the tempeh in a large, nonstick skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Then, lower the heat to medium, cover the pan, and steam the tempeh for about 8 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Transfer the tempeh to a bowl and crush about half of the cubes with the back of a spoon.
  4. Wipe down the skillet to remove any leftover tempeh sauce, return the skillet to medium heat, then add the oil. To test the heat, drop a bit of tempeh into the oil—when it sizzles, the oil is hot enough. Add the tempeh and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove from the heat, add to the pasta, and keep covered.
  5. Prepare the Broccoli Rabe
  6. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the sliced garlic. When the garlic begins to sizzle, cook it, stirring, for about a minute. Add the broccoli rabe, stir to coat it with the oil, sprinkle with a little salt, and cover the pan. Steam for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the white wine and steam for about 4 to 6 minutes, until the broccoli rabe is bright green and its stems are tender. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to do this in two batches; just add the second batch of broccoli rabe as soon as the first batch has softened slightly and there’s a little extra room in your pan.
  7. Remove the cover, sprinkle with a little salt to taste, and continue to sauté for an additional minute or two, until any excess liquid is evaporated. Transfer the cooked broccoli rabe to the bowl with the tempeh and pasta and toss with the vinegar and pepper. Use a pasta spoon to divvy up onto plates, or place everything in a big pasta bowl and serve family style.

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