PASTA WITH SAUSAGE, TOMATOES & BROCCOLI RABE
Thumbing through my November 2011 issue of Food & Wine (it’s a fab, recipe-packed issue this month…Thanksgiving is around the corner!), I came across a hearty pasta recipe that’s extremely budget friendly and you can feed 6 friends! Talk about a flavorful one-dish meal that you can serve with a salad and, if you wanna get fancy, some red wine. I added a few ingredients (garlic, shallots, broccoli rabe) to the recipe because I feel that garlic and shallots add layers of greatness to any dish and broccoli gives a nice pop of color.
Vesuvio with Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes & Broccoli Rabe
¾ – 1 lb. pasta such as orecchiette, shells, fusilli, lanterns, snails…basically any scoopy type pasta that is 1” or shorter. I used vesuvio, which resembles a volcano, and if turned upside down, it looks like a sea shell.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ lb. sweet or spicy (or both) Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 Tbsp garlic, minced, divided into 2 Tbsp & 1 Tbsp
3 Tbsp shallots, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper (more if you like it spicier)
½ lb. broccoli rabe
2-3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
parmesan cheese flakes
1. In a medium pot of boiling salted water, blanch broccoli rabe for 1 minute, then transfer to a bowl of ice water and let cool for about 30 seconds. Drain. Cut broccoli into 1” spears and set aside.
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
3. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the sausage in 1-inch clumps and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the same skillet along with the tomatoes, 2 tbsp garlic and crushed red pepper; cook over moderately high heat, pressing the tomatoes until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, scraping up any browned bits and crushing the tomatoes, until the liquid is reduced by half and the tomatoes are nearly broken down, about 5 minutes.
5. While the tomatoes are cooking down, you can warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté 1 tablespoon of remaining garlic with the broccoli rabe for about 1 ½ minutes, then season with salt. Turn off heat and set aside.
6. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture along with the sausage and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook, stirring, until the pasta is evenly coated, about 3 minutes.