Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Faicco’s is an Italian butcher shop in New York City that specializes in all things pork. Their display case has more appeal than the windows at Bergdorf Goodman. We can never resist buying their Italian sausage coils when we visit; the narrow casings make the prettiest spirals. If you can’t find coils, just buy your favorite Italian sausage links.–Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton

LC Brocco-What?! Note

Broccoli rabe. Rapini. Broccoletti. Same thing. Just a public service announcement in case you’re wondering “brocco-what?!” as you wander the produce aisles of your grocery store.

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • For the Italian sausage
  • 1 coil Italian sausage (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water, plus more as needed
  • For the broccoli rabe
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (rapini) or Broccolini (a trademarked hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Directions

  • Cook the Italian sausage
  • 1. Prick the sausage in a few places with the tip of a sharp knife to keep the casing from splitting as it cooks. Heat the olive oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and water, cover, and cook until the sausage begins to brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes.
  • 2. Carefully turn the sausage over and, if the skillet is dry, add a splash or two more water. Cover and continue to cook until the sausage begins to brown on the other side, about 10 minutes. Uncover and keep cooking until the water evaporates and the sausage is well browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside, 5 to 10 minutes. (The sausage will brown quickly once the water evaporates. You can nudge the sausage a little here and there to be certain it doesn’t stick to the skillet.)
  • Cook the broccoli rabe
  • 3. Meanwhile, trim the thick stems from the broccoli rabe or Broccolini and discard or reserve for another use. Rinse the broccoli rabe or Broccolini and shake off any excess water but do not dry it.
  • 4. Toss the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet and heat over medium heat just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe or Broccolini, a generous pinch salt, and the water, then cover, and cook, turning the broccoli rabe or Broccolini as it begins to wilt, until it’s tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until the water evaporates, 3 to 5 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt.
  • 5. Serve the sausage and broccoli rabe together, preferably on a rustic wooden cutting board.
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Jo Ann Brown

May 14, 2014

Coils of Italian sausage are my very favorite. In my family, we know them as Italian chivalade sausage, and we typically choose the "cheese and parsley" variation. Unlike larger links of the sweet Italian variety, this one has little to no fennel in the cure seasoning. The cooking technique of this Italian sausage and broccoli rabe recipe also takes me back to my roots. Braise in a little water, then fry. This is how I was taught to cook sausage, especially the thinner coils. The meat stays moist and you end up with a wonderful lacquer of the reduced cooking juices and olive oil, which deliciously glosses the ring. Let me suggest that you serve this on some good Italian bread as a hero sandwich—yes, for dinner. A little mild bitterness from the greens and sausage love in every bite. Perfection. A full 1/4 cup water may be a little too much, depending on how much moisture your sausage gives off in the first pass. I'd cut the amount of water in half and see where you are after 10 minutes. In my prep, I had so much liquid I had to uncover and rapidly cook some of it off to get any browning. Also, give your sausage a taste before salting the rapini. You might want to serve the veg without any salt if your sausage was produced with more then your palate prefers.

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Dan Kraan

May 14, 2014

How kind of the author to provide a great side dish to one of my favorite breakfast items! I buy Italian sausage coil (a.k.a. Barese sausage) on a regular basis. My pet name for it is “meat record,” because that’s basically what it looks like—a record made out of meat. The quality of the sausage is what will really make this simple meal sing. The savory flavors present in the sausage offset the slightly bitter greens in a really good way. It really is timeless, and is as good for breakfast as it is for lunch or dinner. And it's quick to prepare, from start to table, which means it's quite doable for any morning or evening weeknight meal. I find it hard to brown anything while there is still water in the pan. In order to brown my sausage, I had to wait until the water was gone for both sides. I didn’t work too hard removing all the tough-ish stems from the rapini. I just cut the base stem at the point where the leaves began to branch out. It worked fine. Fresh, buttered Italian rolls is a nice way to round out the meal and to mop up any pan juices that remain—it’s almost obligatory! Adding a bit of truffled salt to the broccoli gives a little more depth to the flavor. Usually I add a splash of my favorite hot mustard to my plate when I serve the sausage. Both touches are unnecessary, but can lend some variety if desired.

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Mike S.

May 14, 2014

This Italian sausage and broccoli rabe recipe was my first time trying broccoli rabe. (I had some trouble finding it at the store, till I found it also goes by the name rapini.) The recipe comes together easily and doesn't need much monitoring. I found that it's important to make sure the skillet doesn't run dry while cooking the sausage. The one thing I would change would be to add a little more garlic.

Testers Choice
Sita Krishnaswamy

May 14, 2014

This Italian sausage and broccoli rabe recipe, in my book, is more of a serving suggestion, as opposed to a recipe. However, the simplicity, ease, and flavor of this dish merits a TC . I used 2 pounds locally made Italian sausage links and broccoli rabe; however, any assortment of greens will work just fine in this application. The bitterness of the greens complemented the spiciness of the sausage. I felt it was missing some grains, so I made some couscous to go with it. Perfect for a weeknight or any busy day.

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Ralph Knauth

May 14, 2014

Italian sausage and broccoli rabe are a fit made in heaven, so when I saw this recipe, I had to try it out. I wasn't able to get a coil of sausage, so I bought regular, mild links with fennel. Usually I just fry them, but the method of cooking them in water first and then frying works great. I will do that from now on with sausage. The recipe works very well as written, and was very tasty. We had fried polenta with it. Will make it again.

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Karen Depp

May 14, 2014

I learned a lot today—Broccolini and broccoletti are the same thing. Duh! For this Italian sausage and broccoli rabe recipe, I used what they call broccoletti here and the next time (yes, there will be many next times!) I will chase down broccoli rabe. I also used a locally made Italian sausage that was not coiled, and while it would have looked so much more "photo-worthy" if I had found a coil, the taste was heavenly as it was! This recipe is straightforward and easy peasy. I found that actually using the times suggested worked better than my usual guessing. Lesson learned—and a very handy one, at that! I was not sure about trimming the stems—cut them off, or trim them into slim same size stalks? I chose the latter because it looked better, and I like broccoli stems. It worked well, and it was quite nice-looking to have those slender trimmed stalks snuggled up against the sausages.

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Lori Widmeyer

May 14, 2014

I really wanted to make this Italian sausage and broccoli rabe recipe, but I couldn't find a coil of Italian sausage, so I decided to try it using grocery-store Italian sausage links. For such a simple recipe, this packs a lot of flavor. I tried it with the broccoli rabe, but think this would work equally well with a number of vegetables to fit your taste. Next time, I think I'll cook the sausage and broccoli together and deglaze the skillet with a little wine. We loved the leftovers, too; I tossed the sausage and some pasta in a pan with olive oil to reheat, adding Parmesan cheese. I let the pasta get a little crisp—wonderful. Both versions got high ratings, and everyone was wishing there was more they could take for lunch. A simple recipe that's easy to customize.

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Robert Castagna

May 14, 2014

This Italian sausage and broccoli rabe recipe was full of flavor and serving it family-style stirred memories of many Saints' Day street festivals, where the same aroma was in the air. I would like to try it with chicken sausage and seafood sausage with just a splash of white balsamic vinegar to bring out all the flavor notes.

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