Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
1 16 ounce package of shell pasta (I like orecchiette)
1 pound Italian Sausage (I usually get half hot and half regular)
1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut off just above the band and discard the stems
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Put some salted water on to boil for the pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Put a dash of olive oil in the pan and add the onion once the oil is hot, followed by about half the garlic. Cook for a minute or two. Squeeze the sausage out of the casing in bite size chunks, tossing frequently. Once the water starts to boil, add the broccoli rabe for a quick blanching, removing from the pot after less than a minute (don’t dump the water, just fish out the broccoli rabe with a strainer or tongs). Quickly rinse the broccoli rabe in very cold water (or submerge in an ice bath). Once the water boils again in a minute or two, add the pasta and cook according to directions on the package. Chop the rabe, if you like into smaller pieces. Heat another pan and then add a bit of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the rest of the garlic, then the broccoli rabe. Sauté for a few minutes until the rabe starts to soften a bit. I then sprinkle a bit of sugar (maybe a few teaspoons) on the rabe, which helps to remove a bit of the bitterness (which makes it much more edible for our kids–if I were making this just for me, I’d skip the sugar). Toss the rabe in with the sausage. Once the pasta is done, strain and mix immediately with the sausage/rabe. Toss in about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with additional parmesan. Serves 6.
Wine Suggestion: I would start with a Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo in mind, and depending on how much heat is in the sausages, you could go bigger with a Syrah or even a Cabernet Sauvignon. If you have no heat in the sausage, you could even go Chardonnay.