I honestly can’t remember the first time I was introduced to broccoli rabe (or broccoli raab or rapini, depending on who you ask). All I know is that one day my mom came home with this pre-sauteed olive oil-y container of green stuff from the Italian grocer and mixed it with pasta and browned pork sausage. I wish I could say it was love at first bite, but I hated it. It was just too bitter for my naive and immature taste buds and so for the longest time, she would cook up a kid’s version for my brother and I without the greens. As I got older, however, the taste grew on me and it is now one of my absolute favorite things! Unfortunately, while broccoli rabe is readily available in every New York supermarket, it is pretty hard to find in Boston. My mother attributes this to the fact that “there are no Italians in Boston”. But what about the ENTIRE North End, I asked her, surely it must be around somewhere. Finally, it got to the point where I was really craving it, and so I made a special trip to Whole Foods, figuring that they HAD to carry it. Thankfully, I was right, and so I whipped up a version of it that is based on Giada’s recipe. It was as good as my mom’s version, possibly even better because I cooked the broccoli rabe myself. To go with it, I roasted some asparagus with balsamic vinegar, which was also really good. This will be my entry to both Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, and Ruth’s Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Wiffy of Noob Cook.
Other news of the week: my slow cooker has arrived! It is my birthday next week (Feb 25) and I will be 22. Because she loves me dearly, my roommate bought me a slow cooker and so get ready for some (hopefully) great recipes to come. If you have any suggestions, let me know!
Shells with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Serves 4, adapted from Giada de Laurentis
1 lb whole wheat shell pasta
3 links sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 lb broccoli rabe
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
5 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1. Start to boil two pots of salted water – one for the pasta and one for the broccoli rabe.