Day 333: Pasta with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe ◄

At Simply Recipes, Elise and her folks call this a 'keeper'. I tweaked the recipe but trust me too, sausage and broccoli rabe are a brilliant combination -- and this IS a keeper!

(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
NEXT TIME ... I'll drop the pasta further, use more broccoli rabe and add some tomato

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
Serves 4


Yes -- there are three pots on the stove, even if it all gets combined into one

POT ONE
Salted water
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)

POT TWO
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 pound broccoli rabe (or more, see Kitchen Notes), washed, hollow stems trimmed, chopped

POT THREE
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!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
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

ALANNA's TIPS
  • 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.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Adapted from Simply Recipes


(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

2 comments:

I love seeing the differences in this recipe. I would love to add fennel seeds and red peppers to mine next time-thanks for the suggestion:)

I love fennel and I like your idea of adding it to this. Sigh, I'm still trying in vain to get my market to order broccoli rabe. They promised again yesterday, so we'll see.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna