This is one of my favorite all time pastas. It’s a quick and easy dish, and I always pile on the greens to make it extra healthy. I usually make it when I have some leftover sausage or cooked rapini in the fridge, but feel free to make it from scratch by following the directions below. It’s also a lunchtime winner because you can eat it at room temperature without having to heat it up.
Make sure you cook your pasta so it is a little al dente, as some texture from the pasta really goes well with the sausage and rapini sauce. This is also a great make-ahead dish, as you can make the sausage and rapini in advance, and literally have this on the table in 15 minutes during a weeknight. If there wasn’t already enough to love about this dish, it also works well with gluten free pasta too!
1 cup cooked rapini
450 grams penne pasta
2 tbsps olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 tbsps salt (for pasta water)
olive oil to finish
I always use leftover greens for this pasta. If you are making from scratch, see my recipe for amazing rapini here.
Heat water to boil.
Add salt to water.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Make sure your pasta is a little al dente.
Cook your sausages. You can BBQ them, use leftovers or cook them on the stovetop in a skillet.
Slice sausages into chunks.
Combine sausages, greens and pasta.
Drizzle with olive oil and cheese to finish.
Every time I go grocery shopping, I peruse the vegetable can and jar aisle and keep my eyes peeled for what’s on sale. Peppers, artichokes, eggplants, olives, beans, etc, all have a place in my pantry, waiting for the rainy day when I’ve got nothing in the fridge. These pantry salads can be real life-savers as they are super quick to throw together and are always so tasty and delicious. I always make a little extra for leftovers as the flavors improve by the next day when the ingredients have had some time to meld. These salads make hearty and filling take-away lunches but can work for a dinner too. I like to top them with some grilled chicken or tuna for a quick but satisfying main meal. Feel free to get creative with your ingredients as anything goes really, and make sure to top with a tasty dressing. I like to add some fresh herbs too, they really make the flavors pop.
For the dressing: take all ingredients and blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drain beans, olives, capers and artichokes.
Add diced peppers and parsley.
Add dressing and mix.
For most people, greens are just one of those things you have to make your self eat. You might be indifferent or you may even hate them, and for many people the latter seems to be the case. If you’re Italian like me, it’s kind of the opposite. Greens are like the holy grail of an average everyday meal. They are almost always on the table, especially in the summer when there is often a heaping bowl of garlicky green goodness at almost every meal. Personally I am a greens addict. But for many years no matter how often I made them, they just never tasted quite the same as my moms and I could never figure out why. Somehow hers were always soft and really creamy, and mine were always a little stringy and sometimes bitter. Finally I hung around one day and figured it out. Here are the green secrets of every Italian grandmother. You can thank me when these methods get those picky green eaters asking for seconds.
First, keep in mind this is a two-step process. First you boil the greens, and then you need to sauté them. Here I have used rapini, one of my favorites. Many recipes will tell you otherwise, but I guarantee to get maximum creaminess you will need these two steps.
Second, you need to heavily salt the water the greens are boiled in. Don’t be afraid of using so much salt. The salted water brings our maximum flavor in veggies as well as a little sweetness. Usually, you don’t even have to salt the veggies later. Using unsalted water will always mean having to heavily salt the veggies themselves.
Third, sauté on high heat and make sure you don’t burn the garlic, which can make your greens taste bitter. Add the garlic in when the greens are almost done.
Lastly, make sure you use a good quality olive oil to finish the dish. You will be surprised how much of a difference this makes. I always keep a separate bottle on hand for finishing.
That’s it! Easy and straightforward but you would be surprised what a difference it makes.
Heat a large pasta pot of water until boiling. Add 2 tbsps salt.
Prepare rapini by rinsing thoroughly and trimming stems.
Add rapini to boiling water and stir.
Boil for 5 minutes or until tender.
Heat a frying pan on high with olive oil.
Add rapini when oil is hot.
Saute for two mins.
Add garlic, salt and pepper (to taste) and hot pepper.
Saute on high heat for about 4-5 minutes until garlic is cooked through and greens begin to break down a little.
Remove from heat and finish with a drizzle of fresh olive oil.