Broccoli Rabe is one of my favorite vegetables. Being Italian, I love garlic, and broccoli rabe is made with lots of garlic (and some red pepper flakes) to give it lots of flavor. I think most grocery stores sell broccoli rabe, however plain old broccoli or even spinach would be perfect substitutes. I used hot italian sausage to give even more flavor, but I have made it with sweet sausage and it tastes just as great; it just depends on your preference. I also used a fun curly pasta called campanelle, but any type of pasta will do. Maybe even a cheese tortellini, hmmm…. I’ll have to try that one. This one I just had on hand and I thought it would hold the melted parmesan cheese well. Tender pasta, garlicy broccoli rabe, hot Italian sausage in a light parmesan sauce: all sounds good to me. Make the first bite count!
Total Time: 30 minutes
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
4-5 Italian sausage links (sweet or hot)
1/2 pound pasta (I used campanelle)
1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, stalks removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add a generous amount of salt to flavor the water. Cook the pasta according to the package for al dente, making sure to reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot. Slice the sausage links lengthwise down the center but do not cut all the way through. Then open the sausage link like a book and place in pot. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from pot and set aside. Cover with foil to keep warm.
3. In the large pot that the sausage was cooking, add 2 cups water and the broccoli rabe. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove cover and continue boiling for 5-7 minutes. The broccoli rabe should no longer have a bitter taste. Drain the water and remove the broccoli rabe.
4. While the broccoli rabe is cooking, slice the sausage into bite size pieces.
4. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to the large pot and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and sauté in the oil for another 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the cooked pasta and sausage to the broccoli rabe and stir. Add the parmesan cheese and about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta liquid. Stir until cheese is melted. If pasta is still too dry, add more pasta liquid. Serve hot.