Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Penne with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Mushrooms

1 lb Penne or similarly shaped pasta (Gemelli, Cavatelli, Small Shells)
1 lb sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 bunch of broccoli rabe
1 lb Portabella or Crimini mushrooms, sliced or roughly cut in halves and quarters.
Sliced garlic, 2-5 cloves depending on preference
Olive Oil

About 1 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, more or less depending on preference

Remove casing from sausage if necessary. Break up into medium sized pieces and sauté in stainless steel or cast iron pan at high heat until brown. Set aside.

If cooking with Portabella mushrooms, remove gills. In the same pan, sauté mushrooms with salt and pepper until browned. Remove mushrooms and set aside.

Broccoli Rabe - Separate leaves and snap flowers from woody stems.  Cut stems on an angle or set aside for another recipe. Blanch broccoli rabe in salted water at a rolling boil for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

Place ¼  cup olive oil and sliced garlic in a large stainless steal pan. Bring pan to medium heat. When garlic is fragrant add blanched broccoli rabe. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add olive oil as necessary.

Add mushrooms and sausage to broccoli rabe. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes and turn off heat.

Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving pasta water. Return meat and vegetables to medium high heat. Add pasta to sauté.

Spread ½ cup cheese on top of pasta and ladle pasta water over, stir to create a sauce. Add Crushed Rep Pepper and Black Pepper to your preference. Continue adding cheese gradually and ladling pasta water until desired consistency and pasta is cooked to desired texture. Garnish with Parsley.

Almost all the ingredients in this recipe can be substituted to accommodate your tastes and refrigerator.

Use grilled chicken or ground veal/lamb instead of sausage. Omit meat for vegetarian option.

Use kale, spinach, swiss chard or the tops of root vegetables instead of brocolli rabe.

Add other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, artichokes and tomatoes. Add tomatoes to sauté early if you desire them to cook down or add later if you would like them to keep their shape.

Add sliced fennel, shallots or onions to garlic at the beginning of the sauté. Add thyme, chopped rosemary or  add and remove stem of sage to olive oil for different flavor profiles.

Garnish with tarragon or edible flowers instead of or in addition to parsley.

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