Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pasta with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe & Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino

By: The Food Hunter

No longer is spinach your only option when it comes to leafy green vegetables. A quick stroll through the produce department of your local grocery store will prove this. Displays are filled with peppery arugula, slightly bitter kale and crunchy escarole, to name just a few.

These days my favorite is rapini or as we Italians like to call it broccoli rabe. Known for its slightly bitter taste, rabe is delicious sauteed with a little olive oil & garlic. But the way I like to eat it most is paired with sausage & mixed with pasta. It's simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner and impressive enough to serve your most finicky guests. 

Wine Recommendation:

The Brunello di Montalcino, is a fantastic Tuscan wine to serve with this pasta. The wine is deeply elegant, with a fine texture, aromatic precision, beautifully balanced alcohol and acidity and ideal tannic maturation. It is a joy to drink.

Pasta with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe
 (printable recipe)
1 pound pasta shells
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian Sausage (casing removed)
2 bunches broccoli rabe (rinsed and chopped)
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 cup Pecorino (freshly grated)
1/2 cup white wine (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta about 1 minute short of the package instructions and drain, reserving pasta water.

Heat a large saute pan with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic & crushed red pepper and cook till fragrant.

Add the broccoli rabe to the pan, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat in the pan drippings. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, just until tender. De-glaze with the reserved pasta water or white wine, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the pasta and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute more and remove from the heat.

Add the freshly grated Pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with extra Pecorino.


  1. That looks fantastic! Great weeknight meal!

    1. It's quick and easy but looks and tastes like you spent a lot of time preparing it.

  2. I love that you found a way of balancing the slightly bitter taste of broccoli rabe with sausage, garlic and crushed red pepper deliciousness!

  3. Looks amazing!!! I love this combo! Thanks for sharing your nibbles at MUNCHING MONDAYS! xo Nic

  4. I need more broccoli rabe in my life. Delicious.

  5. I love broccoli rabe too - especially paired with pasta and cheese like this recipe!

  6. I grew up eating rapini and I still love it. I introduced it to my husband, he doesn't love it but when I pair it w/ sausage he tolerates it! So good and this is such a classic Italian recipe here. Thanks for the walk down memory lane w/ this one!

  7. I love broccoli rabe and you have got my on the kick again. Thanks!

  8. I was just at the market and so a abundance of broccoli rabe. I'm not a fan but the hubby is!

  9. I never would have though to pair broccoli rabe with sausage. Good idea!

  10. Definitely one of my favorite pastas is sausage and something green. I'll have to try the broccoli rabe!