It's heaven in a saute pan. This recipe is a knock-out and a traditional way to serve up my favorite leafy green, broccoli rabe (rapini). There is nothing really new about this recipe, the ingredients are basic. Italians have been eating broccoli rabe with sausage, garlic and crushed red pepper since the beginning of time, but I do a little trick in the cooking that makes the rabe even more delectable. If you aren't familiar with broccoli rabe, it's an Italian Veggie that really tastes nothing like american broccoli, which I consider a good thing because as hard as I try, I can not get behind basic broccoli. Broccoli rabe is about 6" long, beautifully green and has mini leafy looking florets. Luckily, it is available in most grocery stores. Known for a bitter taste some folks blanche it before cooking. Legend has it this removes some of its bitter flavor and decreases cooking time. I find this to be an unnecessary step. And while I love all things bitter (campari, arugula, broccoli rabe, etc), my husband, who is not the biggest bitter fan LOVES this recipe. Plus when nestled amongst sausage, garlic and red pepper that slight hit of bitter is perfect!
What Do I Need
2 Bunches of Broccoli Rabe
5 Cloves of Garlic (Sliced Thin)
2 Lbs Italian Sausage (I like to do 1 pound hot and 1 pound sweet)
1/2 tsp of Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper
Pierce holes with a fork all over the sausages and then cut sausages into 2" - 3" pieces . Grab a large sauté pan and add a small drizzle of oil and about 2 tablespoons of water, heat up and then carefully add sausage, keep your heat at medium. Cook the sausage for about 15 minutes, turning midway. I cover my pan but leave it slightly ajar, this speeds up the cooking a bit and also stops oil and sausage fat from splattering EVERYWHERE!!!!!
While the sausage is cooking, rinse your broccoli rabe and trim about 1 inch from the stems, lay out on a towel.
Now it should be time to remove your sausage, turn off your heat and move your pan from the burner. Place the sausage in a bowl, cover with aluminum foil and set aside.
Return your pan to the burner and turn on low, add your 5 cloves of sliced garlic and stir gently with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. You don't want to burn your garlic, so make sure that the liquids from the sausage are not scalding hot, they should just be warm. As you stir your garlic, bring up any burnt sausage from the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon and mix in, this is the good stuff! Now start to add handfuls of broccoli rabe, stirring well and coating them with the pan goodness!!!! Work in all your rabe and stir to coat, be sure every piece has swirled in the bottom of that glorious pan! After about 7 - 10 minutes, your broccoli should be softening nicely, now add back in your sausage (and any juice that has collected in that bowl). Stir and cook for an additional 5 - 7 minutes or until your stems are no longer rigid and soft and sausage cooked through! Now salt and pepper to tase and if you like spice, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and mix well.
Now plate and serve. This makes a great side, main dish or you can even get some fresh Italian bread and make a sandwich!