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CAVATELLI WITH SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI RABE

CAVATELLI WITH SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI RABE

Let’s talk Italian comfort food. Cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe is Sicilian comfort food at its very best.  Pair it with a crusty loaf of Italian bread and a delicious Barolo wine and you have one of my favorite meals of all time.

Bowl of tender cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe, garnished with a dollop of ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan.

I like to complete this comfort meal with a couple of Italian Aperol Spritz cocktails, a Classic Caprese Salad, and one or two Italian Amaretti Peaches.

Homemade raw cavatelli pasta

WHAT IS CAVATELLI PASTA?

Cavatelli is pasta made with durum wheat flour, ricotta cheese, and eggs.  It’s shaped like a long cylinder and then rolled onto a ridged gnocchi board to make pretty ridges or rolled and indented with your fingers to make cupped indentations that hold onto all the delicious sauce.

Fresh cavatelli is always my personal favorite, but there are some great dried cavatelli brands that work equally well.  

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE?

  • Olive oil 
  • Italian sausage – I like using sweet Italian sausage, but if you want more heat, use hot sausage.
  • Kosher salt
  • Broccoli rabe – look for deep green, firm stalks with tightly closed, green florets.  If you can’t find broccoli rabe, you could use broccoli or spinach.
  • Cavatelli pasta
  • Garlic
  • Italian cheese – I love using a really good quality Italian blend cheese.  I make my own blend by grating parmesan, romano, and asiago together.  Please don’t use the fake stuff in the shaker jar.  You want the robust flavor of freshly grated cheese.
  • Ricotta cheese – this is optional but adds a creaminess that can’t be beaten.

Bowl of tender cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe, garnished with a dollop of ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan.

HOW DO I MAKE CAVATELLI WITH SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI RABE?

This is one of those wonderfully easy recipes that doesn’t taste like it was easy to make.

First, saute the sliced sausage in a large skillet until no longer pink.  

Then as the sausage cooks, boil salted water for the pasta.  

Before adding the pasta to the pot, blanch the broccoli rabe quickly.

Add the pasta to the pot and cook until al dente.

To the skillet, saute the garlic, then add the broccoli rabe, sausage, and finally the pasta.  

Stir in some of the pasta water and cheese.

For pure decadence, top the pasta with a mound of ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Finally, dig in and enjoy!

MORE PASTA RECIPES TO CONSIDER

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Bowl of tender cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe, garnished with a dollop of ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan.

CAVATELLI WITH SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI RABE


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x

Description

This Cavatelli With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe is Italian comfort food at its best.  Spicy sausage and bitter broccoli rabe are sauteed with tender cavatelli pasta in a garlicky, cheesy sauce.


Ingredients

Scale

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, sliced

Kosher salt to taste

2 pounds broccoli rabe, stems trimmed

12 ounces cavatelli pasta

4 large cloves garlic, minced

½ cup grated Italian cheese

1 cup ricotta cheese, optional

Shaved Italian cheese for a garnish


Instructions

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and the sliced sausage.

Cook, turning occasionally until browned and crisp around the edges – about 15 minutes.

Remove the sausage to a plate. Reserve the pan drippings.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a full rolling boil.  Add a handful of Kosher salt to the pot and return to a boil.

Toss in the broccoli rabe and cook, uncovered, until the vegetable is bright green and just tender, but still a bit crisp – about 5 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the broccoli rabe to a fine mesh colander.  Chop into bite-size pieces.

Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente – about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the skillet, warm the pan drippings.  Add the garlic and cook until it is golden brown – about 5 minutes.

Add the broccoli rabe and sausage to the pan.  Toss with the garlic and cook until warm.

Drain the pasta in a colander, but reserve the cooking liquid.

Add the pasta with ¼ cup of the pasta water to the skillet.

Toss with the sausage and broccoli rabe.

Stir in the grated cheese.  Stir vigorously until the cheese is melted and a creamy sauce has formed.

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl.  

Top the pasta with a mound of ricotta cheese.

Sprinkle with the shaved Italian cheese.

Serve the pasta warm with a spoonful of the ricotta cheese, if using.

  • Category: Main Dish - Pasta
  • Method: Saute, boil
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: cavatelli with sausage and broccoli rabe, Italian food, pasta, Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, comfort food, Italian comfort food

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