Let me say, this Creamy Pasta with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Sun Dried Tomatoes recipe has the most delicious sauce! Really tasty. Creamy and cheesy. This is one of those recipes you can change out ingredients and it will still be delicious.
I saw this recipe from Rachel Ray a knew I had to try it. She made a comment about how Broccoli Rabe has to be blanched but Broccolini and Broccoli does not. That got me thinking. I always thought that Broccolini and Broccoli Rabe was the same. So I looked it up. It is not….
Broccoli Rabe or Rapini is from the turnip family. It’s a bitter green, similar to a mustard green, with thin stalks, little buds, and lots and lots of leaves. It’s particularly popular in Italian cooking, where it’s often sautéed in garlic and/or used in pasta dishes. It is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, which contribute to good vision and better immunity, respectively. It’s also rich in potassium, which is important for regulating blood pressure, and magnesium, which your body uses to produce energy. Often has to to be blanched to use in recipes. It is quite bitter so has an acquired taste. If using in this recipe, throw it in the pasta water for just a minute to curb bitterness.
Broccolini is a hybrid vegetable, a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has a long, leggy stem, small florets, and small, if any, leaves, and is more tender and sweeter than either of its parents. So if you are put off by Broccoli Rabe, this is the better choice over using standard broccoli.
Chinese Broccoli, also known as gai-lan, kai-lan, or Chinese kale. Chinese broccoli is a member of the species Brassica oleracea, the same species as regular broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower; however, its “cultivar group” is called alboglabra, which sounds completely made up and/or like something out of Harry Potter. It has thick stems, tiny florets, and large, flat leaves, and its flavor is somehow stronger and more broccoli-like than regular broccoli.
As you can see, there are many options available to use for the “green” vegetable in this recipe. I used the broccoli rabe but have to admit, it was a little bitter for my taste. I will try the broccolini next time.
I will tell you there is a vast difference in the taste of broccoli rabe if you blanch it ahead of time.
I made this recipe exactly they way it is printed. I always do that and then tweak it if need be. Not that Rachel’s recipe needs to be tweaked, but everyone’s taste differs. I used broccoli rabe, she used broccoli. Next time I will try broccolini. That’s what’s great about cooking. You can perfect a recipe and perfect it to your taste. This recipe was so delicious I can’t wait to make it again!
This recipe is fairly easy to make:
Cook pasta in a separate pan until al dente.
Soak sun dried tomatoes in very hot water for about 10 minutes or until soft. Drain and chop.
In a large skillet, add some olive oil and saute the sausage until slightly browned.
Add the broccoli and onion. Cook, stirring often, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and tomato paste. Cook until the tomato paste turns a shade darker, about 1 minute.
Stir in the wine and oregano. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer the sauce until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the cream. Reduce heat to low. Season the sauce with salt and let simmer while you cook the pasta.
Add the pasta and Parmesan to the sauce. Add the cooking water if the pasta is dry. Season with salt and crushed red pepper.