I’m a meal planner. Usually. It saves a lot of time and it usually assures us a reasonably healthy (meaning not fast food) meal. And then there are weeks like this one where I don’t plan a thing. On weeks like this I look in the refrigerator and there are so many ingredients waiting to be used up before they expire, I simply decide to wing it for the first few days of the week. Which explains this completely improvised pasta dish.
I purchased the broccoli rabe at Saturday’s farmer’s market. It looked so good and so fresh I would have purchased the entire crate if I thought it would last for several weeks. But I knew better. When it comes to greens, they won’t wait. Stupid greens.
The sausage was a whole different story. I picked up that chicken sausage at Trader Joe’s last week and, although it has a little more patience than the broccoli rabe, I knew it was reaching its limit. “Cook Me!” it screamed from my meat drawer. Okay, keep your casings on. You’ll have your moment to shine.
The cavatelli was an entirely different story. I picked it up along with the broccoli rabe at the farmer’s market. But when I weighed it at home, I realized there was hardly enough for Sunday dinner for four. It would need to go into a dish that had a lot more ingredients. Like a ton of cranky, impatient broccoli rabe. Patience cavatelli, into the freezer with you.
The dish turned out really well. No surprise there since it had lots of ingredients I love. Joe and Annie enjoyed it as well. As for Louisa, well she had a rehearsal that night, a perfect excuse for passing up one of her LEAST favorite ingredients. Like broccoli rabe. Sorry, sorry, sorry daughter that I didn’t like greens when I was pregnant and you could have picked up the taste for them. Sorry.
- 12 oz frozen cavatelli pasta
- 5 large cloves of garlic, sliced (if you don’t like garlic, use less – see how easy I am?)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoon of butter, divided in half
- 12 oz chicken sausage with provolone and spinach from Trader Joe’s, sliced into medallions
- I large head broccoli rabe, washed and chopped into two-inch size pieces
- salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste (I used approximately ¼ teaspoon which is probably too much for most people)
- one can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- grated parmesan
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli rabe and cook for approximately 4 minutes until tender. My bunch was so fresh it cooked quickly, but older greens might take a little bit longer. Remove greens with slotted spoon to a colander set in a bowl, and allow to drain. Push down on greens with back of spoon to squeeze out excess water, then turn greens into bowl and reserve colander for draining pasta.
- Toss cavatelli into still boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Drain into bowl and add extra tablespoon of butter to melt with hot pasta.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil and butter in a wide saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic and cook until garlic softens. Add sliced sausage and cook until sausage is browned on both sides, turning once. Add crushed red pepper, then broccoli rabe and cannelini beans. Stir together. Finally, add cavatelli to pan and stir all ingredients together. Adjust seasoning.
- Serve and top with grated parmesan.