Recipe yields six servings
2 lbs broccoli rabe, washed and tough stems removed, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups red cherry tomato, halved
1 pkg. sweet Italian sausage, sliced medium thick
1 lb cavatelli pasta
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
12 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
Salt, pepper ground, to taste
1/2 cup good shaved or grated Parmesan
Toss the tomatoes with oil and a bit of salt. On a sheet pan, in a hot oven, blister the tomatoes. Reserve the tomatoes, retaining as much pan juice as possible.
In a saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat until well browned. Remove from pan, but save the pan drippings.
In a large covered saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the rabe and garlic. Lift it from the water with a strainer and drain, but save that water for the pasta.
Combine tomato, garlic, rabe and sausage with salt and pepper and a little more of the olive oil, keep warm but not hot (to retain colors)
Bring the pot of vegetable water, covered, back to a boil. Add a teaspoon more salt and the pasta.
Cook pasta until al dente, drain (I always save a 1/4 cup for the sauce and the remainder for soup stock.)
While the pasta is cooking, use your 1/4 cup of pasta water to deglaze the sausage pan and add that flavor layer and any tomato drippings to your cooked ingredients.
Finally add the hot, drained pasta and the rest of the cooked, seasoned ingredients to a large bowl. Toss well and top with the Parmesan cheese.
This dish is good warm but don’t over do it. The beauty is the bright green rabe and bright tomato, equally good at room temperature or the following day.
Chef Laura Cabot