Pasta Season Returns, Part 2: Garlicky Rapini and Sausage Sauce

Recipe
While the Butcher’s Bolognese simmered, I cooked up a batch of this stuff to freeze. It works exceptionally well with orrechiete pasta (or other short varieties) and is dry enough to work as a pizza topping. If you or your kids hate bitter as a flavor (me and mine actually love it), you could easily substitute broccolini for the rapini.

2 bunches rapini, chopped into inch long pieces
1 pound spicy italian sausage (removed from casings; if heat is an issue for you and yours, sweet Italian’s nice too)
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly (not as thinly as in Goodfellas, though)
olive oil
red pepper flakes (optional for heat freaks)

In a large, heavy saucepan, brown the sausage, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. Remove from pan and set aside. Add olive oil, garlic, and chopped rapini to pan (two bunches is pretty sizable, so you might have to do this part in two batches) and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add a splash of water if it gets too dry. This will help steam it a bit. Add cooked sausage, and a shot of olive oil, stir to combine and cook a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

bonus: if you have just a bit of the bolognese and a bit of the sausage and rapini leftover, i recently discovered that they blend brilliantly and make a nice hybrid sauce!

—Hugh

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One Response to Pasta Season Returns, Part 2: Garlicky Rapini and Sausage Sauce

  1. Paige says:

    I make a version of this, but add golden raisins and pine nuts. The sweetness of the raisins, in counterpoint to the salt of the sausage and the bitter of the rabe, adds a kind of inexplicable richness. I moisten with chicken stock instead of water, too, and sometimes add about a half a tablespoon of butter at the end of cooking. John likes to drizzle his with some really good olive oil after it’s dished up. This is one of our go-to, don’t know what the hell to have for dinner, we always love it, dishes.

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