Penne with Rapini and Sausage

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!

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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.

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17 Responses to Penne with Rapini and Sausage
  1. Jessie
    February 15, 2010 | 11:11 am

    that looks extremely comforting and delicious. I wish I could have a bowl of that for lunch!

  2. bridget {bake at 350}
    February 15, 2010 | 11:42 am

    Jen, that sounds wonderful! Perfect for a chilly night!!!

  3. Leena
    February 15, 2010 | 1:43 pm

    mmm… this looks so good! perfect, comforting meal! I love adding sausage to pasta!

  4. 5 Star Foodie
    February 15, 2010 | 2:53 pm

    A delicious and gorgeous bowl of penne!

  5. Gaby
    February 15, 2010 | 3:17 pm

    I hear ya on the traveling stuff… I get sick of eating out really quickly! I much prefer home cooking! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Rapini! This pasta dish would be a total hit in my house, especially with the addition of the sausage! Filling and satisfying

  6. megan
    February 15, 2010 | 4:19 pm

    looks so good. I love any type of pasta dish. I’m always looking for new things to mix in. i’ve never tried rapini before, but I love sausage, so I bet I’ll love this. I know it will be a hit with my husband. I’ll let you know once I have a chance to try it.

    Beautiful pictures!

  7. Mags
    February 15, 2010 | 5:47 pm

    Broccoli rabe is on my vegetable bucket list. I’ve yet to try it so I just may have to use this recipe to be able to check it off the list. It looks delicious!

  8. penny aka jeroxie
    February 15, 2010 | 7:31 pm

    I am with you. After travelling, I always miss cooking. I miss touching the food and doing things with it.

  9. Erica
    February 15, 2010 | 8:36 pm

    That looks delicious!!!Sounds simple, but full of flavor!!!Love the pictures!

  10. Eliana
    February 16, 2010 | 4:40 pm

    This looks like an absolitely perfect dinner. BRAVO!

  11. Reeni
    February 16, 2010 | 8:47 pm

    What a lovely and comforting bowl of pasta! The ricotta in it is a nice touch.

  12. arugulove
    February 16, 2010 | 11:04 pm

    This looks so good. I’m a broccoli rabe addict, so I really want to try this out.

  13. Fuji Mama
    February 17, 2010 | 1:34 am

    Oy, now you’ve got me craving rapini!! YUM!

  14. Teanna
    February 18, 2010 | 10:24 am

    Oh that dish looks absolutely delicious! I love rapini.. I would eat this up! And then some!

  15. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite
    February 18, 2010 | 8:21 pm

    This is a staple in our house during the winter. Love your step by step recipe pics!

  16. Nutmeg Nanny
    February 19, 2010 | 8:53 am

    This looks delicious! I’m not a huge fan of rapini but I do love escorole. I figure that would be a great stand in :)

  17. [...] last time I bought rapini, I made a creamy pasta dish, so this time I decided to let the rapini stand on its own. I sauteed it with some garlic and red [...]

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