Pasta Extraordinaire: Rapini & Sausage

Fresh pasta still wet......tossed with tiny white beans, homemade fennel sausage, oven roasted tomatoes & the star of the show.......BROCCOLI RABE.

I had to run upstairs after I made this to write this down, that's how delicious this pasta was.

I went to my special man who sells provisions and treats from Italy and from his New Jersey kitchen.

He gave me 2 beautiful, freshly made sausage links studded with fennel seeds......I bought a ball of freshly made mozzarella, freshly made pasta quills (still wet) and I found the freshest broccoli rabe with bright green leaves and little yellow flowers.

There is a price to pay for being a food freak. (Forget about the gas & tolls spent driving to Trenton, NJ, 65 miles for sausage!).

Broccoli Rabe, also known as rapini, is in the bitter greens family, and has nothing to do with broccoli at all.

If it's fresh, it's gorgeous, sauteed with garlic and a little olive oil, or just steamed with some sea salt and oil.

But if it's a week old, it is a bitter, angry old man, and can be very unpleasant.

You either love it, or hate it.
I love it.

You can make this with dried pasta and any type of Italian sausage, with broccoli rabe or any other type of green. Just follow the basic recipe. You can't go wrong.

Pasta w/ Broccoli Rabe, Sausage & White Beans:

16 oz. of pasta, penne or farfalle would be fine
bunch of broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed of ends

1 cup of homemade chicken stock
1/4 cup of pasta water
1 can of small white beans (I use Goya tiny firm white beans), rinsed and drained
6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2-3 Italian sausage links (hot or sweet), casings removed and cut into pieces
handful of chopped oven roasted tomatoes (or sundried tomatoes)
salt and hot pepper flakes
olive oil for the pan
Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

In a heavy pot of boiling water, blanch your broccoli rabe for 2 minutes and drain in a colander. Set aside.
Use this same pot to boil your pasta water.

In a large heavy skillet, brown your sausage in a little olive oil. Add your garlic cloves and roasted tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.

Now add your broccoli rabe leaves and saute with the garlic and sausage for about 5 minutes or so.

Add your drained white beans & chicken stock to this mixture. Simmer for 3 minutes.

While your sauce is cooking, have your salted pasta water boiling and throw in your pasta. Don't forget to save a little of the starchy water from the pasta before draining, this will thicken your sauce a bit.

Once pasta is done, drain and add to the simmering sauce.
Add a little pasta water and incorporate all the ingredients.

Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano if desired.
Serve immediately.

Eat and enjoy!


Great rendition of a classic. Beatyfull Pics.
Ciao Chow Linda said…
I'm in the 'love it' camp and I'd love a dish of that pasta - even now.
inspired much? looks great - fortunately I live in NYC so my forays into ingredient procurement only takes me in circles....
lisaiscooking said…
I can relate. It's ridiculous how much time I spend collecting food from various places. The fresh pasta looks fantastic, and I love rapini!
I think I might travel 65 miles for good sausage! Actually, there is a sausage store right in my town, but I've never been there because I fear spending money on sausage only one of us will eat and worry about how much of it I will put away in one sitting! :-D

Although I tend to be in the "don't love it" camp, I have it had in pasta dishes like this one where the flavor is beautifully mellowed out by things like sausage and garlic. I'd eat this without hesitation.
kat said…
Oh yeah that looks pretty darn amazing!
You are so lucky to buy that pasta fresh, I'm only able to get it dry. Love this dish, and love that pasta, I make it exactly the same!
You torture me every morning with your food, while I'm sitting here eating a boring whole wheat english muffin!
StaceyEsq said…
I want a huge bowl of that right now. So what if it's 10:00 a.m.?

Let me know the next time you make the trek to Trenton and I'll meet up with you! I only live 20 minutes from such fabulous sausage (and infamous crack dens)!

XOXO -- Stacey
LaDue & Crew said…
I'd drive that far! It looks delicious! The pasta is gorgeous...
Michele said…
This looks wonderful! I love the addition of the beans! The pasta looks beautiful! Broccoli Rabe is one of my favorite veggies! I wish there was a placce closer to where we live. I want to give that pasta a try!
Bob said…
I've never had rabe before, I'll have to try it out. That pasta looks amazing!
Dewi said…
Extraordinaire indeed!
Sounds delicious and love the Broccoli Rabe in there.
The Food Hunter said…
It looks delicious. Especially the pasta.
noble pig said…
What a beautiful meal! So colorful and healthy...nice one!
Maris said…
This looks great - pasta with sausage is basically my newest obsession - i was never much for sausage but lately I love it!
Kerstin said…
What a lovely pasta dish - it looks like something you'd get in a restaurant! Love the broccoli rabe in it!
Dana said…
I recently made calzones with broccoli rabe and (veg) sausage and lots of spicy red pepper - incredible flavor combo. Love the idea of doing it with pasta and the white beans!
Melissa said…
You had me at "rapini and sausage" but the fact that the pasta and sausage are both homemade AND you included my favorite beans... well, I'm bowled over.
Patsyk said…
Looks like an incredible meal! I love that you went in search of homemade sausage - even if it was 65 miles away!
This looks great - I have been craving rapini for a while now (strange, I know)... I think I will give this a try!
Juliana said…
Nice pasta dish...never rapini..looks good! Great pictures.
Sara said…
Wow, this looks like the ultimate pasta dish. I happen to love broccoli rabe, and I bet that sausage is amazing!
Giff said…
Lisl loves rabe more than I, but this is the kind of dish where I too love it. I haven't tried this with beans added as well!

That's great you have a good sausage source. I find quality can be hit or miss depending on place, but since the sausage gets broken up anyway, I find using ground sausage, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes does the trick!
I love the taste of fennel in sausage.

Wow, you really went the extra mile to make this meal. It looks absolutely amazing.

I'm going to have to try this one. Thanks for sharing!
I love the addition of sausage to pasta dishes. This sounds amazing!
Peter M said…
Love the rustic-ness of the dish and especially the pasta shape.
tavolini said…
Wow--that pasta looks really fantastic! I'm with you, rabe is my friend :)
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