Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Orrechiette with Sausage, Garlic and Rapini

My quarterly  shopping trip to Portland took place recently so I could get my big city fix.  This usually consists of going to Whole Foods Market to shop amongst the aisles of wonderful produce and products not readily available in my town of Salem, Oregon.  On my trip I actually had this recipe in mind to prepare for the weekend.  The ingredient not easily available in my supermarket is the rapini, also called broccoli rabe.  I also found some wonderful bulk Italian sausage.

Broccoli rabe is a cousin of our familiar broccoli but it is has very thin stalks, many more leaves and small, less densly clumped flowerettes.  It also has a slightly bitter taste compared to broccoli.  To prepare, the thick ends are cut off (approximately two inches) and then it is cut into two inch sections, parpoiled for 2-3 minutes then drained and immediately placed in ice water to stop the cooking and retain its bright, vibrant green color.

The pasta used is the shape called  orrechiette which means " little ears" in Italian.  This is a great recipe as it is relatively quick to make and extremely flavorful.  You can increase the red pepper flakes to taste.  My "pinch" made a fairly spicy dish and really woke up the taste buds!

Orrechiette with Sausage, Garlic and Rapini

1 bunch of broccoli rabe, trimmed and washed
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage (mild or hot to your liking)
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch red pepper flakes or to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 pound orrechiette pasta
1/2 cup dried, seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reiggiano or Romano cheese

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add salt and cook the broccoli rabe until just beginning to be tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain immediately then rinse under cold running water.  Chop into bite size pieces and put in ice water and hold aside.

Rinse out pot, fill with water and bring to a boil again.

Meanwhile, bron the sausage in a large skillet set on medium-high heat.  Pour off half the sausage fat and add the olive oil and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and parsley and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the broccoli rabe, turn the heat to low and barely simmer while you cook the pasta.

Add a generous pinch of salt to the boiling water and cook the orrechiette until tender.  Reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water.  Drain the pasta well and add to the simmering sausage mixture.  Add just enough reserved pasta water to make a sauce.  Raise the heat and cook until the sauce has thickened, adding more water if needed.  Toss in the breadcrumbs to help the sauce adhere to the pasta.  Taste for salt.  Toss in the Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese on the side. Serves 4-6.


Big Sis said...

I love Whole Foods but always come out with .

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