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Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Tips for Speed: Cook the broccoli rabe the night before and you'll be way ahead. Cook off the garlic and sausage up to 1 hour ahead and let it sit in the pan until you're ready to finish the dish.
*Recipe courtesy Kathleen Daelemans
Cooking Thin

1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed of damaged leaves
1 pound orecchiette or other pasta noodle
2 tablespoons water
4 to 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 pound Italian sausage, cut into quarter-inch slices
1 cup coarse, seasoned bread crumbs, toasted, optional garnish
Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, optional garnish

Cut the broccoli rabe into 3 to 4 inch pieces, discarding the stems. In a large pot of rapidly boiling water, blanch the broccoli rare until tender and cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Before you drain broccoli rabe, reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid. Drain and rinse the broccoli rabe with cold water until it has cooled off. Spread it out on a towel to finish draining.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, place 2 tablespoons of water into a cold skillet with garlic and sausage and then turn heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden and sausage 1s,cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour reserved broccoli water into pan with sausage.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and place back in pot you cooked it in and season with salt. Pour sausage sauce over pasta and stir in cooked broccoli rabe. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.
If desired, garnish with fresh bread crumbs and/or freshly grated pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings