So, okay. I’m gonna come clean. Lately my husband has been doing a lot of the cooking around here. As I told you before, he is a little more ambitious than I am when it comes to trying new recipes. Funny, I know for a guy who never cooked before, but I tend to stick with old favorites, simply because I can throw them together quickly without thinking and typically I have the ingredients on hand. It’s a time thing, ya know? I know you know.
He makes more of a, let’s say, production of cooking. He spends the time finding a recipe that he thinks we would all be willing to try, better still, actually like and enjoy. Then there’s the trip to the market, then the actual making of the
mess recipe. I usually play sous chef, it makes things go a bit quicker. He is very meticulous about following the recipe. I tend to “eyeball” things. It’s quality time for us though. If you don’t usually cook with your significant other, I highly recommend it. Unless it isn’t safe for you both to be around knives and other sharp utensils, then may I suggest counseling.
Sorry, I digress.
This pasta has quite a few moving parts, which is the husband’s MO, but it is definitely a doable weeknight dinner. And well worth it, may I say.
I had never been a fan of broccoli rabe. I found it way too bitter. My mother in law used to make it all the time and I tried to like it, but just couldn’t make myself. Kind of like the kale issue. For whatever reason, the way these greens are cooked, the bitterness is all but gone. They still have a twinge of a bite to them, but it is melds perfectly with the sausage and hint of heat. The garlic and greens infuse the oil with a deep, rich color and flavor that coats the pasta nicely and it doesn’t have a heavy, creamy sauce, but still a hearty dish.
We tend to eat more pasta as the weather gets cooler, so this will absolutely be made more often now that Fall is here. This has become a family favorite. Even the kid
s eat it. It makes great pizza too. I’ll share that a little bit later.
Have a date night. Make this dish together. At least you’ll both have garlic breath.
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, cleaned, leaves and florets only
- 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic minced, divided
- 1 box penne pasta
- 2 Tbls grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- Add 2 c water and 1 tsp kosher salt in a large, deep skillet and bring to a rolling boil
- Add broccoli rabe and continue at a rolling boil for 5 minutes
- While greens are cooking, prepare an ice water bath to shock greens when done
- After 5 minutes, place greens in ice water bath to stop the cooking process
- place greens in a colander to drain and squeeze the excess water out of the greens using a paper towel
- Using the same skillet (wiped dry), heat 2 Tbls olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes over medium high heat for approximately 2 minutes. You don’t want garlic to brown.
- Add greens and cook 7 minutes or until the water cooks out and set aside. It’s amazing how much these greens cook down!
- Cook pasta al dente according to directions, reserving 1/2 c. pasta water
- In a large, deep skillet cook sausages over medium high heat. When sausage is almost completely cooked and there is enough fat in the pan from the meat, add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Again, do not the burn the garlic, turn the heat down if necessary.
- Stir in the greens, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, an additional pinch of red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water and cook for approximately 7 minutes
- Turn off heat and add pasta alternately with Parmesan cheese and remainder olive oil and combine
- Garnish with additional fresh grated parmesan cheese and enjoy
Note: The husband found an original recipe, but not quite sure where. Sorry! It has been adapted by us to make the process a bit easier.