I always start with something simple with new or unfamiliar authors. At first glance, this recipe seemed like "spaghetti with some beans in it" but as I was cooking I began to notice the layers of flavors and textures I was assembling.
My grandma (Gramma) recently taught me that usually this kind of meat is full of water depending on the quality of it. You can tell because it doesn't brown even through steady cooking at medium-high for several minutes. Sure, it cooks, but it doesn't get that nice crispy brown crust on the outside. You have to cook all of the water out before that happens. Watch it closely.
Also, I usually use turkey sausages because there's less fat and none of those little grisly bits, but this sausage turned out quite tasty with minimal fatty grisly bits - perhaps it's because I cooked it properly.
After 90 seconds of boiling the broccoli gets plunged into ice water to stop the cooking process. Get your water boiling again if it's not and get your pasta going. You'll want it al dente at about 6 minutes.
It was pretty easy to make but used a lot of pots. I really liked the chick peas in the sauce because it added a thickness and richness that isn't heavy cream or fat - apparently that's fairly common in the Pugliese region of Italy. The broccoli was crisp and picked up the flavor of the garlic; I wish I had used more. The Italian sausage was very flavorful and tender, and I think the added fennel added that nice little kick of seasoning. Overall, this was a great pasta dish and I'll probably add chick peas to my sauce on those nights I'm just playing with ingredients.
Recipe for the Sauce:
1 15oz can chick peas
1/4C + 2T olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage (spicy if you want)
3 Cups Red Sauce (he says to make his sauce out of the book, but your favorite spaghetti sauce should be fine.) Here is My Recipe for Marinara derived from Giada.
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
Drain the chick peas reserving the liquid. Blend half the chick peas and all their liquid until mixture forms a smooth paste.
Heat oil in large saucepan over high heat. Remove sausage from casing and brown. Add tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the chick pea puree and fennel seeds. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat about 15 minutes.
Recipe for the Broccoli Rabe and Rigatoni:
1 bunch broccoli rabe, cleaned of outer leaves and bottom stems trimmed
1 pound rigatoni
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced Goodfellas thin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
Broccoli Rabe and Rigatoni Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water. Blanch the broccoli rabe until the stems are just softened and the color deepened, about 90 seconds. Remove broccoli rabe to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
Return water to a boil. Add rigatoni and cook till al dente. Drain but do not rinse the pasta.
Warm the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add broccoli rabe, garlic, red pepper flakes, and the remaining chick peas. Season with salt and pepper.
2 tsp olive oil
1 C grated pecorino cheese
Finish the Dish Directions:
Return the rigatoni to the pot. Add the sauce and cook on medium-high heat, mixing well, until the pasta is coated.
Remove pot from heat. Add butter, oil and half of the pecorino cheese.
Transfer pasta and sauce to a large serving bowl and pour the broccoli rabe mixture over the top along with the remaining pecorino cheese.
That's all I've got for tonight - time to do all of those dishes! Have fun all.