Sausage Rapini Pasta

This savory Italian dish uses three new foods you might not have tried yet.

Marguerite Henderson shares how to make sausage rapini pasta for a weeknight dinner.



Italian Sausage, Rapini (Broccoli Rabe) and Bean Pasta


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound mild (or spicy) bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon dried fennel seed
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (omit if you are using spicy sausage)
  • 1 -2 bunches rapini (broccoli rabe), tough ends removed, chopped and blanched 1 minute
  • 15-ounce can great northern white beans (cannellini), drained
  • 1-2 cups reserved pasta water
  • 1 pound orecchiette or other tubular shaped pasta, cooked “al dente”, drained and reserve 2 cups of the pasta water
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large skillet, heat olive oil for 30 seconds over medium heat.  Add garlic; saute for about 1 minute, stirring often, until just fragrant.  Add the sausage, crumble with wooden spoon, and stir until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the fennel seeds and red pepper flakes. Stir in the blanched rapini and beans.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add enough pasta water to moisten the mixture.  Stir in the pasta, adding more pasta water if needed.  Don’t make it too soupy.  Serve at once with grated Parmesan cheese on top.  Serves 4-6 as main course.

Steamed Romanesco Cauliflower


  • 1 head Romanesco cauliflower (also categorized as a broccoli)
  • 4 cups lightly salted water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Seasoned breadcrumbs:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh or commercial breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Extra olive oil for drizzling


Place the whole head of Romanesco cauliflower in a saucepan with boiling salted water and olive oil, stem side down.  Cover; steam over medium heat for 2 minutes, turn over to cook top for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Total cooking time about 5 minutes.

While Romanesco is cooking, heat olive oil in small skillet; add garlic.  Cook over medium heat 1 minute, stirring often.  Add the breadcrumbs, oregano, and black pepper.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring often, until crumbs are golden brown and crisp.

Transfer the Romanesco to a serving dish, sprinkled on the breadcrumbs, drizzle lightly with additional olive oil (about 2 tablespoons), serve at once. Serves 4-6.

Serve over a bed of arugula tossed with shaved Parmesan cheese. It makes for a healthy, attractive side dish/salad combo.



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