Recipe: Broccolini and Sausage Pasta

A simple & delish pasta recipe you'll come back to over and over during the broccolini/rabe months. I used broccolini for this recipe only because I couldn't find any broccoli rabe but, I do recommend using broccoli rabe for it's bitterness. This dish can also be made vegetarian by just not including the sausage. Broccolini and broccoli rabe have such nice flavors they are great with just a little sauteed garlic and olive oil.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

1 lb Broccolini (Broccoli Rabe recommended)
4 italian sausages
4 cloves garlic
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water 1 lb penne pasta
Crushed Red Pepper Salt Pepper Freshly Grated Parmesan

Start by putting on a large pot of water to boil the penne. While the water comes up to a boil you'll have plenty of time to prep your ingredients.
You can always cut up your garlic to whatever size you want. My tastes change from day to day and this day I wanted minced garlic. Most of the time I just course the garlic after smashing it with the side of my knife.
Coarsely chop up the broccolini/rabe to 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch sized pieces. I usually remove the woodsy part at the base of the broccolini that looks a bit too hearty to eat. Most of the time it's fine right out of the store. Make sure you find some really good broccolini or broccoli rabe since it's the real highlight of the dish.
Chop up the sausage into 1/4 inch coins. Make sure you use a separate cutting board when handling meats. Cross contamination is NOT fun! I used a nice organic italian sausage from Whole Foods. This sausage wasn't my favorite for this dish only because it didn't hold it's shape very well. I like a nice hard casing on my sausages normally.
When the water starts to boil go ahead and drop the pasta in and put a large dutch oven or pot on the stove and preheat it to a med-high heat. When the pan is nice and hot add the oil and make sure it's coating the bottom of the pan. If the pan is too hot it'll smoke so be careful.

Add the garlic and sweat them till they are almost brown. Make sure they don't go much further than that. Add crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Remember when you heat up pepper flakes they get a lot spicier than just eating them regularly because the oils have a chance to get out. Make sure the garlic and red pepper flakes don't burn or you'll be left with a bitter mess.

Add the sausage and saute for 5 minutes or until they are almost cooked through. When they have some nice brown to them add the broccolini, water, salt & pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the leaves have fully wilted.

By now your pasta should be just about al dente so strain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sausage and broccolini. Saute all the ingredients for a couple minutes to incorporate all the flavors. That's it!

Plate up the pasta and grate some fresh parmesan over top of it and enjoy!

--Joe Kwon