I’m always anxious to get back in my kitchen after traveling. I enjoy being in new places and trying new food, but after a while, I get sick of eating out and just want to make something for myself.
That’s how I started to feel this weekend. Not only did I have the urge to cook, but I knew that I needed to stock up on some fresh veggies at the market so that I would have something to cook with! I managed to eat pretty well on my trip, all things considered, but I was ready for some fresh and easy food. My hubby felt the same way, since he’d been eating out of the freezer all week!
For some strange reason, I was really craving some rapini (also known as broccoli rabe), so I picked up a bunch and headed home to make some dinner. Whenever I think about rapini, I am immediately drawn to hot Italian sausage. It’s a pretty classic and easy pairing, but I think it’s wonderful. Tossed with penne in a quick ricotta and parmesan sauce, it’s a flavorful and easy dish… Just what I needed!
Before we get to the recipe, though… Don’t forget that you can vote for the Take a Bow Cake once a day in Kelly’s Cake Off for a Cause until Friday! Stop by my original post each time you vote and leave a comment so that you are entered to win a dozen cookies decorated personally for you (by me!)… Plus, for each vote, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. It’s a win-win!
Penne with Rapini (Broccoli Rabe) and Sausage
- 1 pound whole wheat penne (or any other short cut pasta)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1.25 pounds hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch rappini (brocoli rabe), thick stems removed and chopped
- 1 cup lowfat ricotta cheese (2%)
- 1/2 cup cooking liquid (from pasta)
- 2 ounces parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain (reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid) and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the sausage in the oil, breaking it up into small pieces. Once the sausage has browned, add the minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Gradually add in the rapini (broccoli rabe), wilting it down into the sausage mixture and cooking for a minute or two.
Once all of the rapini has been added, add the ricotta and cooking liquid, stirring until a thick sauce begins to form. Add the pasta and the parmigiano-reggiano, and stir to evenly coat. Grate some nutmeg into the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.