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Gemelli with Rapini, Sausage and Raisins

In Italian, Main Course, Pasta, Pork, Recipe
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This is absolutely one of my favorite pasta dishes, and one that is an excellent vehicle for introducing rapini (or broccoli rabe) to your kids.  Rapini is a delicious bitter green, that served on its own, is a tough one for kids to love, the flavor being just a little too sharp and funky for your average ankle biter.  In this dish, the sweetness of the raisins, and the luxurious mouth-feel afforded by the fat in the sausage, keep the bitterness of the rapini in check, much to the delight of the youngsters.  It is a quick meal to toss together, and so easy that it can be prepped top to bottom by anyone old enough to use a knife, just be sure to save the act of slipping the sausage meat from their casings for your least squeamish child.  Serve it with a simple green salad and a crust of country bread

Recipe:

Gemelli with Rapini, Sausage and Raisins

By: Steve Dunn

(Print Friendly Recipe)


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Gemelli or other small shell-shaped pasta
  • 1 pound (about 4 links) sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, stem bottoms trimmed, washed well
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, reduced in half
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup golden (or dark) raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh ribbons of parmesan cheese, peeled with a vegetable peeler

Method:

Set a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Place low-sodium chicken stock in a pan and reduce by half to 1 cup, add dry white wine and reserve.

Lightly toast pine nuts in a dry skillet, reserve.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When shimmering, squeeze sausages from their casings, dropping bite-sized pieces in the hot skillet to saute, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned.  

Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausages to a bowl, leaving behind the drippings in the skillet.

Cook the pasta to producers instructions for al dente.

Trim the ends, wash, dry, and cut the brocolli rabe into 1-1/2” pieces.  Add to the drippings in the skillet and saute over medium-high heat until wilted and just starting to take color.  Add the sliced garlic and pepper flakes and cook 1-2 minutes, add the reduced chicken broth, wine, and raisins and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the broccoli rabe is just starting to soften, but still has a nice bite to it.

Drain the pasta and add to the skillet, chuck in a few large knobs of butter and the pine nuts, and toss to combine.  Check seasoning for salt and pepper, and serve topped with ribbons of freshly peeled parmesan.

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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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