Friday, October 3, 2008

Adults Only Pasta

This is my husband's favorite pasta, and since he had to work beyond the girls' bedtimes last night, I made it for him:  Cavatappi with Rapini, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan.

Rapini, AKA Broccoli Rabe, is a slightly bitter, sturdy green vegetable.  It's packed with good nutrition but I find it's at it's best when  not treated like a health food.  It needs plenty of fat and salt (much of which comes from the sausage and the cheese), and it's best when cooked beyond al dente.  On the left is the rapini with just the bottoms chopped off, the right has been stripped of the biggest, toughest, or bruised leaves.  It's ready to cook.

Boil a big pot of salted water.  Blanch the rapini for 3-5 minutes, until mostly tender.  Remove the rapini and cook the pasta in the same water to save a pot.

Brown an Italian sausage in some olive oil, and break it up into small pieces.  I use a spoon to smush it flat, and then  I chop it with the edge of a wooden spatula.  Add a couple cloves of chopped garlic and a dash of hot pepper flakes.

Right when the garlic starts to brown, add a glug of white wine or Vermouth.  Then add half a can of chicken broth.  When the pasta is nearly done, add the rapini and thicken the sauce with a bit of cornstarch (approx 1 T) dissolved in cold broth or water:

Ready for the pasta.  Taste it.  You might need salt, and a grind of pepper would be good about now.  After the pasta is mixed in, you add a big handful of Parmesan and just let it soak up and get flavor- melded there in the pan for a minute or two.  Serve more cheese on top.

I love this little tool.  It's called a spider or a skimmer and it's so much more convenient than hassling with a big colander.  The one in this picture is old enough to get married, in most states.

No comments: