Monday, December 7, 2009

Recipe Roundup: Sausage, Mozzarella, and Brocolli Rabe with Shells

We had Sausage, Mozzarella and Broccoli Rabe with Shells, from the November issue of Everyday Food, for dinner on Friday night. And boy was it delicious. I used Italian sausage with basil and garlic instead of regular Italian sausage and really liked the flavors. This was also my first time cooking with broccoli rabe. It's sort of an unwieldy vegetable, but it was a great alternative to spinach, which is what usually ends up going into baked pasta dishes.

The recipe had a few steps to it, since you start off by boiling the pasta and the broccoli rabe in one pot while cooking up the sausage, garlic and tomatoes in another before combining everything and pouring it into a baking dish, topping with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan, and baking for 15 minutes. In other words, don't make this on a night when you're in a hurry. Do make it when you want something warm, gooey, savory and satisfying. It is great!! And even
cutting the recipe in half (well, everything but the amount of pasta), we still had enough leftover for lunch on Sunday.

Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli Rabe with Shells
Source: Everyday Food Magazine, November 2009
Serves 4. Prep time: 35 minutes. Total time: 50 minutes

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 links spicy Italian sausage (3/4 pounds total), casings removed
1 Tb. all purpose flour

1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes

1 bunch (about one pound) broccoli rabe, trimmed and coarsely chopped

6 ounces freshly mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 cup Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high. Add onion and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).

Add garlic and sausage, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions. Add broccoli rabe to pot and cook 15 seconds. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot. Stir in sausage mixture. Transfer to a 3 quart baking dish or divide among 4 16-ounce gratin dishes. Top with mozzarella and parmesan. Bake until cheese has melted and liquid is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

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