(Keep reading if you're watching calories, however ...)
[March is 'broccoli rabe month' at A Veggie Venture, or as StephenCooks calls it a Broccoli Rabe Festival. Whether you call this wonderful leafy green 'broccoli rabe', 'broccoli raab' or 'rapini', do join in! There's a running round-up of recipe ideas here -- your contributions, new and archived and just plain recipes, are most welcome!]
IS BROCCOLI RABE THE NEW SPINACH? ... I'm a fiend for greens and typically buy two or three big bags of spinach a week. But lately I haven't been happy with the supermarket spinach. It's tougher. It's more stem than leaf. It seems tough not tender. And it's WAY more expensive than even a year ago.
But since I've been buying broccoli rabe (thanks again to Debbie, the new produce manager at my local Schnucks store, for ordering it!) here's what I've found. Broccoli rabe is fresher. It's easier to wash and trim. And it's WAY cheaper, $1.70 a pound vs $5.50 for an equivalent amount of spinach. The only downside is that broccoli rabe does need to be used within a day or two, where the spinach can last for up to a week. Is broccoli rabe the new spinach? At my house, definitely!
KITCHEN NOTES ... I did tweak the recipe, here's how and why:
- 8 vs 16 ounces of pasta: seeking a lower proportion of pasta:meat/other; you can see from the picture that there was plenty of pasta so next time I'll drop it back still further
- A pound vs 3/4 pound of Italian sausage: what was on hand + wanting more meat, less pasta
- Added a teaspoon of fennel seed to the sausage: somehow fennel just makes something taste 'Italian'
- Added a chopped onion and red pepper: for bulk and nutrients
- A pound of broccoli rabe vs 3/4 pound: it cooked down enough that next time I double the broccoli rabe
- Skipped the cheese -- accidentally actually, but I found the sausage and pasta so rich that it wasn't necessary
NUTRITION NOTES ... WOW! Remind me to calculate nutrition/Weight Watchers points BEFORE eating. A single serving has nearly 700 points and 16 points ... YIKES. This is definitely an indulgence.
FROM THE ARCHIVES ... See the Recipe Box for other vegetable-pasta combinations.
PASTA with SAUSAGE & BROCCOLI RABE
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See Simply Recipes' inspiring recipe
Hands-on time: maybe 20 minutes? sorry, completely lost track
Time to table: maybe 45 minutes? I know it seemed like it took forever for the pasta water to boil
Yes -- there are three pots on the stove, even if it all gets combined into one
8 ounces (or less, see Kitchen Notes above) pasta (any pasta works taste-wise but shells or oreccheitte or the campanelle I used create little pockets' for the sausage bits to tuck into: wonderful)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 pound broccoli rabe (or more, see Kitchen Notes), washed, hollow stems trimmed, chopped
1 pound Italian sausage (tonight's was terrific, locally made by a guy who sells at the Central West End Green Market on Saturdays)
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper diced
Red pepper flake to taste (keep tasting, it takes more than you think, you want this to have a hot bite)
2 tablespoons minced garlic (sounds like a lot, but try not to skimp)
1 teaspoon fennel seed
Bring the water to a boil. Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain.
Bring the stock to a boil and hold just below a simmer until about 5 minutes before pasta is done. Then add the broccoli rabe and let cook for about 5 minutes until fully cooked but still bright green.
In a large skillet, cook the sausage with the onion and red pepper just until its pink is lost. Season to taste with red pepper flake. Add the garlic and fennel, cook for 1 - 2 minutes, then hold at low temperature until the pasta is done. Stir in the cooked pasta and broccoli rabe. Serve and enjoy!
Per Serving: 684 Cal (49% from Fat, 17% from Protein, 34% from Carb); 30 g Protein; 37 g Tot Fat; 13 g Sat Fat; 58 g Carb; 7 g Fiber; NetCarbs51; 50 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 1106 mg Sodium; 86 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 16 points
- When you see this ◄ in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.
Adapted from Simply Recipes