Former Bon Appetit food editor Kristine Kidd was  Sunday at the Sonoma Artisan Cheese Festival last Sunday in Petaluma, demonstrating this  easy, weeknight pasta dish.

This  recipe for pasta with broccoli rabe, feta and mint is a terrific way to get a taste of spring, before the spring produce really kicks in. It also makes for a perfect Meatless Monday dish, if you leave out the pancetta.

Kidd uses sheep’s milk feta for its fresh, authentic flavor, along with the pleasantly bitter broccoli rabe, available at most local grocery stores. You can check out Kidd’s food blog at kristinekidd.com.

Broccoli Rabe, Feta and Mint Pasta

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 ounces pancetta, chopped (optional)

1 onion, finely chopped

Red pepper flakes

1 can Italian tomatoes, preferably San Marzano (28 ounces)

2 bunches broccoli rave, cut into 1-inch pieces

14-16 ounces rotini pasta, preferably multigrain

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

¾ cup good quality Feta cheese, crumbled

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the pancetta, if using, and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and 2 large pinches of red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté until the onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1 cup water and bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens and the flavors blend, 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full ofs alted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rave and cook until just tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Return the broccoli rabe to the pot and cook until heated through, about 30 seconds.

Drain the pasta and broccoli rabe. Return to the same pot. Add the sauce and mint and stir to coat. Mix in ½ cup of the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the pasta to a warmed shallow bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve right away.