Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

This Italian sausage and broccoli rabe is made by pan-frying sausage and sautéing broccolini with oil, garlic, and pepper flakes. A simple and easy weeknight meal.

A large coil of Italian sausage and broccoli rabe in an oval skillet.

In this Italian sausage with broccoli rabe, as with most rustic Italian suppers, frugality and practicality come together in a spectacular yet simple collision of tastes that requires little fuss. It’s barely a recipe and more like a this blueprint for weeknight salvation.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Canal House No. 8: Pronto cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • For the Italian sausage
  • For the broccoli rabe


Cook the Italian sausage

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 almost all of the water, cover, and cook until the sausage begins to brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes.

Carefully turn the sausage over and, if the skillet is dry, add a splash 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 and cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes. (The sausage will brown quickly once the water evaporates. You can nudge the sausage a little here and there during cooking to be certain it doesn’t stick to the skillet.)

Cook the broccoli rabe

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.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe or broccolini, a generous pinch salt, and the water, 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 oil and season to taste with salt.

Serve the Italian sausage and broccoli rabe

Pile the sausage and broccoli rabe together, either moving everything to a skillet and taking that to the table or transferring everything to a platter. Serve warm. (Any leftovers work marvelously when chopped and tossed with freshly cooked pasta.) Originally published May 14, 2014.

Print RecipeBuy the Canal House No. 8: Pronto cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    *What You Need To Know About Broccoli Rabe

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

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    The cooking technique of this Italian sausage and broccoli rabe recipe 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.

    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.

    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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    1. My grandparents used to make this – I know I am not spelling it right, but the sausage was called chevrelat. They used to toss it on the grill too in the summer. Such good memories.

      1. Lovely, Rachel! Curious about the chevrelat sausage and going to research that a little. We so appreciate you sharing this with us. Amazing how food can instantly flood us with memories, yes?

    2. I have been looking for a recipe for Italian Chivalade sausage…I make sausage at home and I am interested in making this. In reading, I understand it is ground lamb and it is in. 22 MM casing. Do you have a recipe for this or do you know who may have a have one? Thank You for your time.

      Regards, Vince Tripi

      1. Hi Vincent, one of our testers, Dawn English, researched your question and located a recipe. This from Chef Rosemarie A. Drygala who grew up in the Italian Food Business;

        Small size sheep sausage casings (not hog )
        5 pounds pork butts or ground pork, medium grind, ground while very cold
        1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
        1 cup imported Romano or Loccatelli hard cheese, finely chopped
        Salt, course black pepper and granulated garlic to taste . Check spices by cooking a small patty for taste
        A drizzle of ice water for ease of stuffing

        Let us know if you give it a try.

      2. Hi Vincent, we’ve reached out to several people to see if we can get you an exact recipe. In the meantime, one of our testers had this advice. “When he was a young boy, my husband made chivalade sausage all the time in his father’s butcher shop. It is simply a combination of chopped pork and lamb (with chopped veal added sometimes), grated percorino or parmigiano cheese, salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a recipe with measurements since they made it in bulk quantities, but those are the correct ingredients. Also, this type of sausage is made using narrow casings, usually lamb.”

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