This is no Rachel Ray joke!
We arrive home very late on Columbus Day, having had business meetings upstate in Hudson.
I know I have broccoli rabe at home in Manhattan. I grab a pack of frozen sausage from the country house and do not put in it in a cool pack for the ride home so it will thaw. I will make pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage. However it is a mild Italian chicken sausage, BUT I have just picked a very hot serrano pepper from my garden!
Everyone is starved as we walk in the door at 8:30. I put all the other groceries away and get to work a little before nine. How can I get dinner on the table quick? I ask for help from Zach’s girlfriend, Agata, and she does a beautiful job peeling and slicing the 6 large garlic cloves. And I continue with the neatest thing being using the broccoli rabe near boiling water to bring to a rolling boil to cook the pasta. It also flavored the pasta as well. Dinner was on the table at 9:23, served with a lovely bottle of red wine for the four of us and it was a feast! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. My husband said this was the very best version of this dish I have ever made! And, it has the magical pancetta in it to give it the big full flavor. Here goes.
PASTA WITH BROCCOLI RABE AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE
1/4 cup olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, pealed and sliced
1 serrano chili pepper minced, with seeds (remove seeds if you do not like things hot)
1 3/8” thick slice pf pancetta, cut into small dice
1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed and cut into 2” pieces
1 -11/4 lb. mild Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing and broken up into small chunks
1 lb linguini – No. 6
3 tbs. pasta water
2 oz. grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Mince the pepper. Warm the olive oil with the garlic, hot pepper and pancetta on low heat for 10 – 12 minutes in a large skillet while you’re cleaning the broccoli rabe. Trim the ends of the broccoli rabe and cut into 2” pieces, Wash thoroughly, twice. Put in a large pot, cover with at least 2” of cold water. Salt with coarse sea salt. Put on very high heat. When bubbles start to form on the edges of the pot, lift the broccoli rabe out with a hand mesh strainer or slotted spoon and drain in a colander. This partially cooks the rabe and removes the bitterness. You are saving the water to cook your pasta in. Raise heat on garlic mixture to medium, add your sausage and sauté until all pink is gone. Taste for salt and pepper but remember, the Pecorino is salty and that gets put in at the end. Meanwhile, bring the broccolli rabe water to a rolling boil and cook your pasta. Add drained broccolli rabe to sausage mixture and toss the combination. Save some pasta water and drain the pasta when done. I find it best to combine all in layers. Put 1/3 pasta in a bowl with 1/3 sausage rabe mixture and 1/3 cheese and 1 TBS. pasta water, toss to combine and continue with thirds and toss. Serve with more cheese if you like at the table, but it really isn’t necessary.
This dish is so creamy and delicious – even for people who say they don’t like broccoli rabe! It almost tastes like it has butter in it but it doesn’t. You will love it!