Broccoli Rabe & Sausage Rigatoni

This is one of those perfect weeknight winter recipes. You want something fast, but hearty, which seems like a contradiction and almost impossible to do. When I think of delicious winter meals a fair amount of braising and/or roasting comes to mind, and those aren’t quick fixes to a “what are we going to eat right now?” kind of problem.

And if I haven’t sold you on this recipe yet, let me just add that it only dirties two pots, and no side dishes are required to round out the meal. Did I mention that it is kid-friendly too? At least, my kids really enjoyed it, but they have a peculiar fondness for broccoli, so broccoli rabe wasn’t too far out of their comfort zone.

Broccoli Rabe & Sausage Rigatoni (inspired by this recipe from Country Living magazine)

  • 3/4 pound rigatoni
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicier)
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth (or dry white wine)
  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed & cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente (according to the package directions).
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, breaking it up into crumbles as it cooks. When the sausage is almost completely cooked, push it to the side of the Dutch oven and add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the center. Let them cook until fragrant (~1 minute), then add the vermouth and stir well. Let the vermouth cook down until the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid has thickened a bit (~3-5 minutes). Turn the heat down to low.
  3. When the rigatoni is al dente, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the Dutch oven. Add some of the pasta cooking liquid to the rigatoni/sausage mixture and stir to combine. Throw the broccoli rabe in the pasta cooking water, stir, and cook until tender (~5 minutes).
  4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli rabe to the the Dutch oven. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and add some olive oil if the sauce seems a bit dry. Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes

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