I have a long list of recipes for the approaching holidays but I will spare you the sugar and spice for a few more days. The weather is cool and sometimes cold in Southern California right now and heartiness has returned to the kitchen. The fall vegetables are so meaty and sumptuous that I cannot resist big platters full of dark greens, squash, potatoes, carrots and the like. Filling meats, slow cooked and penetrating the house with the smell of years gone by ease the strain and tension of everyday life. Even when life is a struggle, a warm hearth and full glass make things tolerable. If you lock the doors and embrace your family, even the hardest of times can actually become enjoyable.
This is Sunday and this afternoon my lovely wife returns from a brief trip to New York. I can’t wait. Our ever dynamic family will be small this evening but our hearts and bellies will be filled with love and comforting goodness. I may make a version of this pasta tonight. I have made this many times and have had many variations at restaurants including one last night that reminded me of this classic. I have written about rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, and I love it. My old friend Michael was wild for it and whenever we would find a restaurant that had it, he would return over and over to enjoy the oddly bitter and hearty vegetable. This reminds me of him, God rest his soul.
- 1 lb. Orecchetti or other shaped pasta
- 1 Bunch Rapini, finely chopped, removing the large stems (about 2 cups)
- 2 Spicy Italian Sausages, removed from the casing
- 1 Cup Pecorino Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Large Pot for pasta
- Large Sauté Pan
- Chef’s Knife
- Slotted Spoon
- Put a large pot of water on to boil.
- Remove the sausages from their casing and crumble into fine pieces into the pan with a little olive oil.
- Cook sausages until brown and completely cooked (if previously uncooked). If you can’t find spicy sausages add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
- Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon.
- The water should be boiling. Salt it well then add the pasta, stirring occasionally.
- Add a little more olive oil to the pan and the rapini. Add salt and pepper.
- Cook rapini until it is wilted and bright green. About 10 minutes.
- Add the sausage back to the rapini and the pecorino.
- Turn the heat off and drizzle with more good olive oil and toss.
- The pasta should be done. Combine with the sauce.
- Serve with another drizzle of olive oil and a generous grating of parmesan.