Orecchiette with sausage and rappi

This dish came about kind of as a mixture of several different dishes. I love the combination of the sausage, rappi, cheese and pasta. It's great. I've never tried making less than one pound of pasta for this dish, so if that is too much for you to stomach, this makes great leftovers.

1 lb. Orecchiette (any tubular pasta would work just fine)
10-12 oz sausage (I like hot Gianelli sausage for this, but you can experiment and find what works for you)
1 lb. rappi (broccoli rabe)
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
Parmesan cheese (I prefer parmigiano reggiano)
red pepper flakes

In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, a dash of red pepper flakes and the sausage and cook until the sausage is browned and broken up into little pieces. Remove from heat. Put at pot of about 4-6 quarts of water on the stove to boil. While the water is cooking, wash the rappi and cut about two inches off of the stems and discard. Chop up the rest of the rappi and set aside. Prepare a large bowl (big enough for the rappi) with ice water and set aside. When the water on the stove is boiling, add the rappi and blanch for no longer than two minutes. After two minutes, strain the water from the rappi (saving the water) and immediately put the rappi into the prepared ice water to stop the cooking process. Once the rappi is cooled, remove from the ice water, pat dry and set to the side. Take the water used to cook the rappi and put it back into the pot and use to cook the pasta. Cook the pasta until not quite al dente and remove from the stove, strain - saving one cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, rappi, and cup of pasta/rappi cooking water to the pan with the sausage and cook for several minutes on medium high, stirring frequently until the water has mostly cooked off. Top with salt, pepper and cheese and enjoy. Buon Appetito!

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