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.
Eat and enjoy!