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Orecchiette with Rapini & Sausage

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains) On January 3, 2018 0 Comments

This pasta dish with rapini and sausage will comfort you all year round! Its main ingredient is rapini. Rapini are a green vegetable. The leaves, buds and stems are totally edible. Although the buds resemble broccoli, they do not form a large head. Rapini have a slightly bitter taste and we Italians use them in all sorts of recipes. However, this one is a big hit with all who sit around us at our dinner table!

Note: Call your local specialty supermarket and ask them if they carry rapini.

Prep time: 30 minutes (rapini & sausage) & 10 minutes (pasta)
Serves: 4 to 6

For the Rapini:
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled & whole
1 bunch fresh Rapini (found at Erewhon, Gelson’s & Vicente Foods supermarkets in Los Angeles), rinsed, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt, to taste

Directions:
1. In a 4-quart saucepot, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the whole garlic cloves and stir-fry on medium high until they turn golden brown.

3. Immediately remove saucepot from hot burner; let cool for about 3 minutes.

4. After 3 minutes, add the rapini and cover the saucepot.

5. Cook the rapini on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, using tongs to stir them occasionally.

6. After 5 minutes, add salt to taste. Taste some rapini – they should be crunchy-tender. Set aside, covered.

For the Sausage:
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 turkey or pork sausage links (mild or hot)

Directions:
1. In a 6-quart saucepot, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the sausage links – be careful to avoid splatters by covering the saucepot.

3. Sauce the sausage links on medium-high heat, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. After 2 to 3 minutes, carefully uncover the saucepot and, using a fork, poke holes in the sausage links. STAND AWAY FROM STOVE TO AVOID SPLATTERS.

5. Turn the sausage links over and cover on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Repeat turning the sausage links over and cooking until they are 3/4 cooked.

7. When sausages are 3/4 cooked, lower heat.

8. Using shears and standing over skillet or saucepot, carefully cut the sausage links into 1-inch circles.

9. Cut circles in half and continue cooking sausage pieces for 1 minutes.

10. After 1 minute, stir in the rapini. Cover and set aside.

For the Orecchiette Pasta & Assembly:
1 pound orecchiette pasta
salt, to taste
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, as garnish
Crushed red pepper, as garnish

Directions:
1. Bring a separate 6-quart saucepot of water to a boil.

2. Add the orecchiette pasta and salt; cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until pasta is “al dente” (crunchy-tender).

3. Meanwhile, heat the sausage-rapini mixture through.

4. Drain the orecchiette pasta in a colander set over a sink.

5. Transfer the drained orecchiette pasta to the sausage-rapini mixture in saucepot; stir and heat through.

6. Taste the pasta mixture, adding more olive oil and salt, if desired.

7. Serve immediately in separate bowls, asking guests to add their own grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese and/or crushed red pepper.

Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or Cabinet Sauvignon
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Aunt Menina’s Leaves & Potatoes (Foglie e Patate)

Aunt Menina’s Leaves & Potatoes (Foglie e Patate)

In Sides, Vegetables On February 26, 2012 0 Comments

While living in Avellino, Italy, my Aunt Menina sometimes came to spend the day with us. These visits stand out because Menina was great at creating exquisite dishes from my Nonna’s vegetable garden. And she would introduce us to recipes from her husband’s village, Pietrastornina (that’s a mouthful, ain’t it?).

Today, Menina and Antonio Urciuolo serve a fav of mine, Foglie e Patate (Italian for “Leaves and Potatoes) at their restaurant, La Locandina (located in Pietrastornina).

Although my recipe is delicious, whenever I have this vegetarian dish at La Locandina, it’s as though I’m tasting it for the first time. The main ingredients of this recipe are rapini (the leaves) and potatoes.

Make it – I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do!

Prep time: 30 to 35 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 pounds Russet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes)
1/3 cup fine quality extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
1 bunch rapini, washed, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
Dash ground black pepper & nutmeg, to taste

1. Place potatoes in a 5 or 6-quart saucepot and cover them with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil.

2. Cook potatoes on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until fork-tender.

3. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.

4. Meanwhile, in a 10 to 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil.

5. Add the garlic cloves and fry on medium heat until the cloves are golden.

6. Add rapini to the oil and garlic. Cook rapini on medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, occasionally tossing with thongs, until crunchy-tender.

7. Stir in the salt and set skillet with rapini aside.

8. Peel the cooled potatoes and mash them in a large bowl; set aside.

9. Return the skillet with rapini to a burner set on medium heat. Heat the rapini until they are hot.

10. Stir the mashed potatoes into the rapini. Stir and cook until Leaves and Potatoes are warmed through. Season with a dash of black pepper & nutmeg.

Serve in 4 bowls as a vegetarian meal or as 6 side dishes to chicken, fish or meat.

Wine pairing suggestion: Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon (reds).

Text & Photographs ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Sautéed Rapini (Rapini Saltati)

Sautéed Rapini (Rapini Saltati)

In Vegetables On May 26, 2011 1 Comment

Have you ever tasted steamed or boiled rapini and found its taste slightly bitter? Make this leafy vegetable as we Southern Italians do and I’m sure you’ll love it.

Italians know that rapini must be sautéed with garlic and olive oil in order to tone down its pungent flavor. Here’s my family’s special recipe. Add some fresh, crusty bread to your dining experience and let me know what you think.

Buon Appetito!

Prep time: 10 to 12 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh rapini (also known as broccoli rabe or rape)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth (or water for vegan recipe)
½ to ¾ teaspoon salt

1. With a knife, remove and discard one inch from bottom tips of rapini. Cut the remaining rapini stalk lengths into thirds. Wash and spin dry the rapini twice; set aside.

2. In a 6 or 8-quart saucepot on a stove burner set on high, heat the oil with the garlic slices. When the garlic starts sizzling, stir it with a wooden spoon. Sauté the garlic about 1 minute or until it turns golden.

3. Immediately transfer the saucepot with the garlic and oil to a cold burner and let cool about 2 minutes. Add the washed and spun rapini to the garlic and oil. Cover the saucepot, return it to the hot burner set on high heat and sautée the rapini 1 to 2 minutes, turning it over with tongs.

4. Set heat on medium high and add ½ cup of water or broth. Cook, uncovered, for an additional minute. Stir in the salt.

Serve rapini as a side dish to meats, fish, chicken or turkey. Alternatively, simply enjoy the rapini with fresh bread (be sure to soak the bread in the rapini broth).

Text & Photograph ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real