One of my favorite quick pasta dishes combines store-bought spicy Italian sausage with broccoli rabe, garlic, chili, and cheese.
1 lb. sausage
4 oz. Parmesan or Granan Padana cheese, whole (don’t buy the crap made in the USA)
1 oz. garlic, sliced thin
1 dried cayenne chili, crumbled, or 1 Tbl. chili flakes
1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut the fat ends off and discard any janky leaves
1/2 lb. pasta, I used fettuccine here, but you can use most anything.
3/4 to 1 cup chicken broth or just water if you don’t have broth
Heat a large, low pot over high heat, and add a thin layer of EVOO. Add a little chunk of sausage, and wait until it really sizzles.
When you are sure that the pot is hot enough, break the sausage into little chunks, and arrange them over the bottom of the pot.
Allow the sausage to cook without stirring until it is nearly cooked through, and it gets really nice and brown on the bottom.
Then turn over to cook the other side for a minute or two.
Add the sliced garlic and crumbled chili or chili flakes, and stir for a minute or so to get it hot. You will smell a strong garlic flavor.
Add the trimmed broccoli and chicken broth or water, and stir to combine.
Cover the pot tightly, and reduce the heat to medium. The idea is to steam the broccoli rabe.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in heavily salted water, about 1/3 cup of kosher salt per gallon of water. Stir the pasta until it completely softens to avoid sticking together.
Cook for the amount of time listed on the package, plus another minute or so if you like it soft like I do.
When the pasta is almost done cooking, take about a cup of the water out for later.
While the pasta finishes cooking, grate the cheese. I usually use the finest grate rather than the rasp side. It gets fine enough, and it’s much faster.
Drain the pasta through a sieve or colander when it is done, then add to the sausage pot. Give it a good stir, and turn the heat back to high.
This is where many people stop and serve the pasta up, but there is a better way.
Add the reserved pasta water and cheese, and cook on high heat, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. The pasta will absorb the entire cup of water if you are patient, and it will have much more flavor. The cheese also makes a nice sticky coating for the noodles.
You can add a little more water just before you serve. It will get stick in just a few minutes, so don’t be afraid to thin it a little.
Happy Cooking Kimmy, and congrats on the move!!!