Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pasta
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters
Here’s another quick and easy pasta dish for those weeknights when you would like to get dinner on the table as soon as possible. Also, the ingredients necessary for this dish keep for a while in the refrigerator, so they are great to keep on hand. You could also substitute spinach (fresh or frozen) or Swiss chard for the broccoli. For a vegetarian version, skip the sausage and use more olive oil to sauté the onions. I would also add more onion and greens then to boost the flavor.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 lb. short cut tube pasta, such fusilli or penne
½ to 1 lb. Italian sausage sweet or spicy, casings removed
1 lb. broccoli rabe, or broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
Sea salt, to taste
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a small handful of salt when the water comes to a boil and put the broccoli pieces in the water. Cook the broccoli until crisp tender. Then remove the broccoli from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside. Bring the water to a boil again, and cook the pasta according to the package direction.
While the water is coming up to a boil break the sausage meat up into small pieces. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil into a large skillet (large enough to hold the cooked pasta too) and heat over medium heat. Now add the sausage pieces to the pan, dispersing evenly so they don’t all form back into one big clump. Cook the sausage, stirring occasionally until cooked through. This will take about 10 minutes.
Remove the sausage and set aside. Add in the thinly sliced onion and season it with sea salt. Sauté the onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. When the onions begin to soften sprinkle in the ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add the broccoli rabe and the sausage to the pan and cook for a couple more minutes.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the water, reserving some to add to the sauce if necessary, and add the pasta to the sausage and broccoli rabe in the skillet. Toss to coat the pasta with the sausage and broccoli.
If necessary add a bit of pasta water to thin out the pasta. I usually do this when I package up the leftovers.
Serve the pasta with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top!