This dish is an Italian classic for a reason.
Spicy pork sausage and slightly bitter broccoli rabe are a natural pairing. Garlic and some good quality, salty cheese, pecornio in this case, make this pasta come together.
I usually use orecchiette for this dish, but it happens to not be the easiest pasta to find in Flushing, Queens. These short mezzi rigatoni ended up being a great substitute. Plus, in my mind, sausage and rigatoni always make sense together.
One thing I really love about this is how the spicy red oil from the sausage stains the pasta. Isn’t that color gorgeous? With a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a generous grating of cheese, it’s time to dig in!
- ½ bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed
- ½ lb mezzi rigatoni or orecchiette pasta
- 2T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 8oz spicy Italian pork sausage
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ C freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Add broccoli rabe to boiling water, and blanch for one minute. Remove with tongs, reserving water in the pot, and transfer to the ice water bath. When cool, remove broccoli rabe from the water and pat dry. Chop into 1-inch pieces. Bring water in the pot back to a boil, add in pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of water.
- Warm oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan, breaking up as it cooks, and sauté for 6-8 minutes or until well-browned. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in broccoli rabe, and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss in pasta, cheese and a splash of pasta water, or more as needed to bring the sauce together. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. For serving, drizzle with oil and serve with cheese. Enjoy.