November 6, 2010

Spicy Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Ragu

I've written before about our Sunday night dinners, unplanned and assembled from whatever's left in the refrigerator from the previous week's cooking. This system not only lets us occasionally revert back to our favorite comfort foods (Amanda - mac & cheese. Michael - tuna melts) but also occasionally yields delicious and creative results by causing us to put things together that we wouldn't have thought to plan. This meal was born out of one of those Sunday night dinners. It's a perfect bowl of comfort for a cold fall or winter day. The broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter flavor which we find is a bit much on its own but blends perfectly with spicy sausage. We served ours with polenta but it could easily be eaten alone or with pasta or rice. Any dark leafy greens would be good here - swiss chard or kale could take the place of broccoli rabe.

Interesting things we learned about broccoli rabe: it's also called rapini, and is apparently more closely related to the turnip than to broccoli.

Spicy Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Ragu (serves 2)

- Olive oil, for cooking
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/3 lb spicy Italian sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
- 1/2 a (28 ounce) can tomatoes, chopped (plus the juice)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Half of a bunch of broccoli rabe
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and, when it's hot, add the sausage. Cook until the meat is browned, then add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice and white wine and cook over medium low heat until the sauce has thickened.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop the broccoli rabe and bring a pot of water to a boil. Put the rabe in the water and cook for 3 minutes, until it's bright green, then drain and rinse with cold water (everyone says to plunge it into an ice bath to stop the cooking, but we cheated here and didn't notice any adverse effects).

When the sauce is thickened and you are nearly ready to eat, add the broccoli rabe to the sauce and let it cook for just 2-3 minutes, or until it's hot again. 

Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper (depending on the sausage and can of tomatoes you use, you might not need much or any salt). Serve over creamy polenta (see our ratatouille post for how to make it) or pasta, with a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.


  1. This looks AMAZING. I am going to make it Sunday... will let you know how it turns out :)
    Anna Mckenzie

  2. Thanks Anna - we hope you like it!