This is a pretty quick to pull together meal that you can serve your family with a simple salad and feel good about it. My father made this pasta dish all the time when I was growing up, it might be my all time favorite dish. The contrast of the bitter greens, the spicy sausage and the creamy white beans is so dreamy. If pasta isn’t the ultimate comfort food, I don’t know what is. You can substitute a gluten free pasta if needed or leave out the pasta and still have a delicious dish, low carb style.
About broccoli rabe: I never knew broccoli rabe could be tough until I ate it at a restaurant when I was an adult. I have never had proper, tender broccoli rabe outside of an Italian home kitchen. This is the way… Cut off 1-2 inches of the stem, cook in lots of salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes, pull out with a spider and put directly into the flavored oil that you are using (oil, onions and garlic in this case). Toss until tender, a couple of minutes and season as desired.
My father would use the typical uncooked mild and spicy sausages. If that is what you have or prefer to use, simply par boil the sausage for about 10 minutes from cold, covered. Then drain the water out and sear in the pan with a touch of oil. With this recipe I used a pre-cooked Niman Ranch Spicy Sausage that only needed to be heated through before being tossed into the pasta. You can also omit the sausage if you want to make it vegetarian and still have a wildly flavorful dish.
I like to remove the casings of most sausages that I cook with as it makes for a better bite without it. Simply cut a small piece off the end and use that like the edge of a sticker to peel off the rest of the casing.
Small sauté pan
Large stock pot
Ingredients (Serves 6-8):
2T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 bunches broccoli rabe, roughly chopped (Organic is hard to find, so I always buy it when I find it and do not eat it if I can’t get it organic or local.)
2 15oz. cans cannellini beans, drained
12-16oz. your favorite pasta (I like the orecchiette here because it so nicely cups the beans.)
1lb. pre-cooked sausage (or see above for regular, uncooked sausage instruction.)
Parmigiano Reggiano grated to taste
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. In the stock pot bring salted water to a boil, add broccoli rabe to the boil for 3-4 min. Meanwhile in the large sautoir heat the olive oil and cook the onion until soft. Stir in the garlic and toss in the par-boiled broccoli rabe. Cook the pasta as soon as you take out the broccoli rabe as it all comes together fairly quickly from here.
2. In the small saute pan bring the sausage to temp, meanwhile toss the beans into the greens. When the sausage is heated through, bring to the cutting board, remove the casing, cut in bite sized pieces and toss with the greens/beans.
3. Add the al dente pasta to the large sautoir and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Grate in as much Parmigiano Reggiano as desired, add pasta water to the pot as needed to create a sauce that coats the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This Barbuto family classic brings back so many great memories and I am so happy to share this dish with my family. My kids love it as much as I did when I was little. I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it and share it with the people you love, there is nothing better.
Let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy!