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Spicy Sausage with Rapini Pasta recipe

Spicy Sausage with Rapini Pasta recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Pasta types
  • Farfalle

A wonderfully tasting, quick and easy Italian-inspired pasta dish. Serve with a side salad, if desired.

34 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 bunch rapini, ends trimmed, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 350g bow tie (farfalle) pasta
  • 450g spicy fresh Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2/3 (280g) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 2 roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 80g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Blanch rapini for 1 minute, then remove with tongs and rinse with cold water to cool. Add pasta to the boiling water and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, reserving 250ml of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the sausagemeat in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the sausagemeat has nearly cooked through, drain off the excess fat and stir in garlic and shallot. Cook until the shallots soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rapini, artichokes and roasted peppers, cook for 1 to 2 minutes to warm. Stir in the hot pasta along with Parmesan cheese and enough pasta water to moisten.


Rapini is also known as broccoli rabe. If unavailable, use another hearty green, such as kale.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(40)

Reviews in English (30)

by Ann Smyth Horton

In my small towns, they never heard of broccoli rabe. So I used broccoli. The flavors of this dish are wonderful - the richness of the artichoke with the slight sweetness of the roasted red peppers and the saltiness of the sausage... very nice. The broccoli gives it a nice contrasting color, too, making it very pretty. It helps, too, that I could serve it in one of my favorite pottery dishes. The only difference I made besides the broccoli rabe was I used fresh Romano cheese as that is what I have open. My husband and son gave it a four but I give it the full five! I will definitely make this again - especially when I have guests over. It's pretty, simple and delicious!-29 Mar 2009

by Kathy

We used regular broccoli instead of the rabe and regular white onions sauteed instead of the shallots (just had to use what I had). It was great! It was a nice change from the regular old thing. Many recipes are boring, and I find I have to play with recipes to make them more interesting. Not with this recipe though, the spicy sausage and other ingredients are all you need for full flavor.-10 Apr 2009

by momma_s

We all really enjoyed this recipe. I used regular broccoli, one fresh red pepper that I sauteed (in butter) before adding pre-cooked link style hot Italian sausage. I also used tri-colored spiral pasta since that was all I had. It was nice having a pasta that wasn't heavy on seasonings or sauce, but still had a great flavor.-19 Jun 2009

Pasta With Spicy Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Chickpeas

Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

In this hearty weeknight pasta recipe, chickpeas contribute an earthy, nutty flavor to the classic combination of sausage and broccoli rabe. The addition of Parmesan, butter, and lemon juice just before serving balances the heat from the sausage with a bit of richness, creating a bright and flavorful sauce in the process. This pasta is incredibly versatile: You can use any sturdy greens or even broccoli in place of the broccoli rabe, and feel free to swap in whatever pasta shape and canned beans you have on hand. You can even substitute sweet Italian sausage or ground pork or turkey for the sausage in a pinch add about 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes to give this dish its spicy kick.

What is Broccoli Rabe?

I’ve always loved broccoli rabe, but this recipe made me a broccoli rabe convert. If you’ve never cooked or prepared broccoli rabe before, this is a great way to introduce yourself to the green.

Broccoli rabe (pronounced broccoli rahb) is a green vegetable related to the cabbage and turnip family. It sometimes goes by the name of rapini or Italian broccoli, and comes in large bunches with very small broccoli-like buds. Like other bitter greens, broccoli rabe is packed with nutrients and is very high in Vitamin K and C, dietary fiber, and iron.

Broccoli rabe is known for its slightly bitter flavor, which is balanced and complemented by the other ingredients in this pasta. The slightly bitter flavor makes this green so complex and flavorful, much more so than other basic greens.

For this recipe, we’ll be roughly chopping the entire bunch of broccoli rabe and blanching it briefly in boiling salted water, before sautéing it with the sausage, olive, sun-dried tomato, and garlic mixture. The stems, leaves, and buds are all edible and contribute great texture to the pasta. As the rabe cooks down, the bitterness becomes more delicate.

Justin Severino’s Recipe for Rigatoni With Italian Sausage and Rapini Red Sauce

BITE IDEA | Rapini, also called broccoli rabe, has a bracing bitterness. It brings a healthy helping of green and another dimension of flavor to this dish.

The Chef: Justin Severino

Justin Severino

His Restaurants: Cure and the recently opened Morcilla, both in Pittsburgh

What he is known for: Masterful butchery and charcuterie. Bringing serious, seasonal, Mediterranean-style cooking to the Steel City.

“I GREW UP in an Italian family and everyone was really into good food,” said Pittsburgh chef Justin Severino. “After high school I worked for my dad’s construction company. In the wintertime, on the road, it was rough and we’d eat at half-ass restaurants three times a day.” Finally, Mr. Severino’s mother and grandmother taught him to make a few dishes to sustain the crew while they were traveling. “Dad started letting me off an hour or so early to go get dinner ready.”

This rich tomato sauce perked up with Italian sausage and sharp rapini (aka broccoli rabe) is a take on one of the recipes Mr. Severino relied on back then. Though the sauce can go with various pastas, or even polenta, here, in his second Slow Food Fast contribution, tubular rigatoni is the noodle of choice. Its ridged surface really drinks up the sauce.

“You don’t have to add the rapini—my mother doesn’t—but I like the bitterness,” Mr. Severino said. The vegetable plays well with the fennel-spiked sausage. “I use either Italian sweets or hots. What you don’t want is something frozen.”

Mr. Severino has come a long way since he cooked to fuel a construction team. With his wife and business partner, Hilary Prescott Severino, he recently opened his second Pittsburgh restaurant, Morcilla, and tables are already booked well into next month. Still, at the end of the day, in his home kitchen, this simple dish remains a go-to.


To prepare broccoli rabe for cooking, cut leafy portions into 2 inch pieces. Peel the stem and cut to 2 inch pieces.

In large deep skillet saute onion in oil for 5 or 6 minutes until translucent, then add garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) for an additional 2 minutes.

Push onion and garlic to side of pan or set aside in small dish.

Using same skillet, saute sausage , mashing with a fork, until lightly browned. Return onion and garlic to skillet, add broccoli rabe, and stock. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until the broccoli rabe is tender. Add drained beans and stir until thoroughly mixed and heated.

While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cook pasta according to directions for desired doneness and when draining pasta, reserve 1-cup pasta cooking water.

Plate pasta with sauce, using reserved water if more moisture is needed and top with grated cheese.

Second Chances: Spicy Sausage and Rapini Pasta

Rapini and I got off to a rough start. Back in my elementary school days, we just didn't get along. I felt that rapini was much too bitter and aggressive to be my friend, and I'm pretty sure rapini decided I was an unadventurous snob. My mother tried her best to get me to give rapini another chance, but I stuck to my guns. No play dates for me and rapini, and that was that.

Rapini and I crossed paths again in a little Italian restaurant many years later, and finally settled our differences over a crisp thin-crust pizza loaded with nuggets of spicy fennel-laced sausage and dollops of melting Gorgonzola.

Chalk it up to a newfound maturity, or maybe just to the candlelight and a half-litre of house red that went right to my head, but on that magical night I decided to let go of my old prejudices and embrace rapini as an ally. The brash bitterness that had turned me off all those years ago was actually quite appealing, especially now that we had sausage and Gorgonzola to smooth the way. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The trick with rapini, as it turns out, is to pair it up with strong flavours that can stand up to its bitter edge.

I still find that it comes on too strong when served on its own, but when put together with spicy Italian sausage, the combination is unbeatable - the bitterness of the rapini and the fatty, spicy meatiness of the sausage have a symbiotic relationship, which each one bringing out the best in each other while cutting through some of the less desirable characteristics.

No wonder the combination is so well-loved in Italian cuisine.

The other trick is to buy rapini as young and fresh as possible, when it's eager to please and full of zip, and cook it as soon as possible to make the most of that freshness - rapini quickly ages into a cranky, bitter old man, which doesn't help its reputation one bit.

To prepare, cut two inches off the bottom of the stalks, which tend to be tough and fibrous, then quickly blanch or steam until stalks are a bright emerald green and tender-crisp. Before serving, toss with a little garlic toasted in olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, and lots of salt and pepper.

Here, I've gone one step further and combined our dynamic duo of rapini and sausage with some garlic, olive oil and hot pepper to make a classic pasta dish. It's quick and simple, yet utterly satisfying because it combines comforting carbs with the spicy, bold flavours that I always find myself craving at this time of year.

Add a crusty loaf of bread with garlic butter and a glass of your favourite everyday red wine, and you've got yourself an enjoyable weeknight dinner in under 30 minutes.

Even if you're not a rapini fan, you owe it to yourself to give him a second chance and try this dish out. trust me, he's actually a pretty interesting guy once you get past that whole bitterness thing.

This Easy One Pot Recipe Is Perfect For Pasta Night

Everybody loves pasta night, including our family.

There&rsquos so many pasta dishes that are favorites of ours, ranging from ultra-cheesy and creamy to more healthy pasta meals. One thing that is usually included in our pasta dishes is some form of meat. Chicken, ground beef, ham, bacon or sausage like in this Rigatoni with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe recipe. We&rsquore looking for pasta dinners that have meat. To us, the meat is what makes the meal!

    • Salt
    • 2 bunches of broccoli rabe, stalks trimmed and quartered crosswise
    • 12 ounces dried orecchiette pasta or other small shaped pasta, such as farfalle or penne
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 pound spicy pork sausage, casings removed
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • Pinch of dried crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Strain the broccoli rabe, reserving all the cooking liquid. Set the broccoli rabe aside. Cook the orecchiette in the same pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the sausage is brown and juices form, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe and toss to coat. Add the pasta and enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Stir the Parmesan cheese, salt to taste, and pepper into the pasta mixture. Transfer to pasta bowls and serve.

    Reprinted with permission from Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes by Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Copyright © 2005 by Giada De Laurentiis. Published by Crown Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.

    Giada De Laurentiis is the star of Food Network's Everyday Italian and Behind the Bash. She attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris, and then worked in a variety of Los Angeles restaurants, including Wolfgang Puck's Spago, before starting her own catering and private-chef company, GDL Foods. The granddaughter of movie producer Dino De Laurentiis, Giada was born in Rome and grew up in Los Angeles, where she now lives.

    How To Make Pasta with Rapini and Sausage

    Boil a pot of salted water and cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large deep skillet and cook the sausage over medium heat. Once the sausage is cooked to a golden brown, remove it from the skillet and set it aside to cool slightly before cutting it into one-inch bite sizes pieces.

    Add the remaining olive oil to your skillet with the rapini. If using jarred rapini, be sure to use the brine included in the rapini jar. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper, to taste. Saute it all over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes.

    For great pasta dishes, be sure to check out my other recipes:

    Pesto Artichoke Spaghetti Cauliflower Gnocchi with Butternut Squash Pasta with Artichokes and Tomatoes Pasta Fagioli

    Add in the sausage and hot pepper spread, stirring to combine. Slowly add in the pasta, mixing everything together as you go. Season with additional salt & pepper, if desired. Remove from heat.

    Serve in pasta bowls. I love to sprinkle a bit of grated Pecorino cheese on top. Actually, that’s not true…I love to sprinkle A LOT of grated Pecorino cheese on top!

    Recipe: Pasta Con Rabe (Rapini)

    This article is written by Contributing Editor Tony Traficante.

    Pasta ‘con’ Rabe or Rapini

    Pasta (a staple of life for Italians and thousands more) is a simple yet extraordinary food item, prepared hundreds of ways: Normally, with a tomato sauce… but also with pesto, marinara, or ‘aglio e olio,’ and united with ‘fagioli,’ anchovies, a vegetable, clams or a hundred other combinations.

    And here is one other way to prepare it: “Cavatelli e rapini.’

    Broccoli rabe (a.k.a. raab, rapini, and several other names) is a tasty, leafy vegetable. With a slightly sharp, tangy taste, rabe has small florets — or broccoli-like buds. It is not, however, part of the broccoli family — but rather of the turnips.

    If you plan to try pasta with rabe, start with a fresh bunch of rabe. You can tell if the leaves are bright green, crisp, standing upright, not wilted or yellowing. It is a healthy combination, low in calories and fat, and simple to prepare…

    Gather these ingredients

    • 1 or 2 bunches of fresh Broccoli Rabe/Rapini
    • 1 lb of Cavatelli or other pasta preference
    • Salt and pepper (black, red or both) to taste
    • A couple of garlic cloves
    • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
    • Your favorite grated cheese
    • And, of course, water to boil the pasta!

    ‘Cominciamo’ – Let’s Do it!

    • As the pasta boils, wash and coarsely chop the rapini. Trim off some of the lower stem parts they are usually tough. Then cut the remainder of the stalks into small pieces.
    • Bring a small amount of water, lightly salted (optional) to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook about 2 to 3 minutes (some cooks will skip this step and do it all in the sauté pan).
    • Next, sauté the rabe in a skillet with olive oil and as much garlic as you like, for about 10 or so minutes test a piece of stem for tenderness. Add whatever condiments you like (i.e., salt, pepper).
    • Once the pasta is ready and drained, dump it in a favorite serving bowl, stir in the seasoned broccoli rabe and ‘dig in.’ You can add more seasoning and grated cheese at the table!

    Serves about 6 people (without second helpings).

    A wise man once said: “Esse nu fesso chi dice male di macaroni.”

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