Sunday, February 8, 2009

Broccoli Raabe with Sausage and Garlic

Why eat plain, boring broccoli when you can eat bold and assertive broccoli raabe?

Broccoli raabe with garlic and sausage is a classic Italian dish. It's a little bitter, so if you want to take the edge off of it, blanche the broccoli raabe as the recipe directs. If you like broccoli raabe's bite, skip the blanching but saute it a few more minutes in the olive oil and chicken broth. I use chicken broth and wine for flavor and to cut down on the oil, but you can just use lots of olive oil if you don't mind the fat.

Eat as is or serve with pasta or white beans. If you want to let the pasta or beans (if you're using canned, drain them first) cook a little with the broccoli raabe, add it when you add the chicken broth and add more chicken broth than what's suggested above so that it makes a sauce. Parmigiano reggiano is also a welcome addition.

Big bunch of broccoli raabe (broccoli rapini)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Chicken broth (optional)
White wine (optional)
Salt and pepper
Italian sausage, 3 links or if you can buy it, buy 1/2 lb. loose (substitute chicken sausage or do not add if vegetarian)

Fill dutch oven or pot large enough to hold the broccoli raabe. Bring to a boil and heavily salt water.

While waiting for the water to boil, cut broccoli raabe into approximately 2 inch pieces, unpeel four of the garlic cloves and mince two of them. Take sausage out of its casing.

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. When it's done, take out and set aside.

When the water is boiling and salted, add whole garlic cloves and parboil for 2 minutes. Take out, cut into 2 or 3 pieces and set aside. Add cut broccoli raabe and cook for about 2 minutes until the color is bright green. Immediately dump into a strainer and rinse with cold water, moving the broccoli raabe with a spoon or your hands until all the broccoli raabe has been doused with the cold water cooled down. If you have a salad spinner, place the broccoli raabe in the spinner and spin dry. If you don't have a spinner, shake as much water off as you can and put in a clean dry dishtowel and dry most of the water off.

To the pan you cooked the sausage in, add a couple tbs. of olive oil (or less) and heat over medium to medium-high heat. Add big garlic pieces and stir frequently until the garlic has turned a golden brown. Take out and put with the sausage. Add a couple shakes of red pepper flakes and minced garlic, stir quickly, and add broccoli raabe. Stir. Add a glug of wine (pouring the wine, pour it one turn around the pan). Stir. The pan should be hot enough that when the wine hits the pan it will sizzle and immediately start evaporating. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir. Taste to see if broccoli raabe is tender and add salt and pepper to taste. Squirt with some lemon to taste.

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