You gotta like Rapini to like this dish. Rapini is a bitter vegetable resembling broccoli, but it is more related to the turnip. Did you know that some people are genetically predisposed to not like bitter-tasting things? They are called “Super-Tasters”. If you hate the taste of broccoli, then you are probably a “Super-Taster”, and would definitely HATE this dish. Now here’s the good news. Rapini is packed with nutrients. Rapini is high in Lutein, vitamin C, K, folic acid and has 1,796 micrograms of beta-carotine. Enough about how healthy it is. If you don’t like bitter greens, it really doesn’t matter how good it is for you.
So for all the Rapini fans out-there, I introduce to you: Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini!
Chop 1 large bunch of washed Rapini , (stems removed) and place in pot of salted boiling water.
You can boil the rapini for 5 minutes and then blanch, or do like I did (the lazy way), boil for 2 minutes ………
Drain and set aside.
Take 2 – 3 good quality Italian sausage, and remove from it’s casing.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a non-stick skillet.
Add the sausage and break it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
Cook the sausage until done. Do not overcook the sausage.
Chop up 3 cloves of garlic and……..
add to the browned sausage, along with about 1/4 – 1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes longer.
Meanwhile, cook the Orecchiette pasta according to the package directions. For more flavor, you can cook the pasta in the same water you boiled the Rapini. Once the pasta is done, make sure to reserve a cup of the pasta water.
Add the Rapini to the sausage.
Now add the pasta to the sausage. When adding the pasta, add it straight from the pot without draining the pasta. Don’t worry if you get some water into the skillet. You need some water to keep it from being dry. That’s why you reserved a cup of pasta water, just in case you need it.
Oh, and don’t forget the cheese. Pecorino Romano goes well with this. If you don’t have any, then the king of cheeses (Parmigiano Reggiano) will do. Enjoy!
1 lb package Orecchiette pasta
1 large bunch Rapini
2 – 3 sweet Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano
Place a large pot of water to boil. Blanch or boil chopped Rapini. If you blanch it, cook for 5 minutes and then remove and place in ice water to stop the cooking process. If you choose the lazy way, boil for 1 -2 minutes, remove from water and set aside. Bring the same water back to a boil and cook the pasta as per the package instructions. Reserve a cup of the pasta water. I got side tracked and dumped my water by mistake, and had to re-boil at pot of water.
Take 2 -3 sweet Italian sausages and remove from their casings. Place 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Now place the sausage and break up with a wooden spoon. Brown the sausage until cooked. Do not overcook. Add 3 cloves of chopped up garlic and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes to the browned sausage. Cook for 2 minutes longer.
Add the Rapini to the sausage. Now add the Orecchiette Pasta to the sausage. When adding the pasta, you can add it straight from the pot of water with a slotted spoon. Don’t worry if you get a little water into the skillet. You need some water to keep it from being dry. That’s why you reserved the cup of pasta water, just in case you need it. Chances are, you won’t need it. Serve with freshly grated Pecorino Romano, or if you prefer, Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy!