Grab a fork and dig into deliciousness! Chunks of tender sausage, bright and crisp broccoli rabe, and a deelish sauce enveloping everything makes this stunning Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Pasta dish a dinner winner! Hungry? Read on and I’ll give you all my best chef secrets to make this amazing dish perfect every time!
Meaty, saucy, and loaded with flavor, this is one heckuva pasta dish! The best part is that it’s a cinch to make, and it cooks up in about the time it takes to boil the pasta. Let’s get cooking!
What You Need to Make Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Pasta
- Pasta – I’ve used penne but any short shape (not long noodles like spaghetti) works wonderfully in this dish
- Sausage – hot Italian sausage or sweet Italian sausage is a good pick
- Broccoli rabe – also called rapini, get it fresh and give it a good wash!
- White wine – use a dry, drinkable wine
- Sundried tomatoes – in oil or dry; I’ll show you how to use both
- Garlic – fresh is best!
- Ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese – shredded
- Butter – salted or unsalted
- Lemon juice – fresh is best!
- Lemon zest
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese to garnish
What is Broccoli Rabe?
Broccoli rabe isn’t your typical North American veggie. Looking a lot like a cross between spinach and broccoli, this shaggy vegetable is also known as rapini. It’s related to the turnip, and it has broccoli-like buds and slightly bitter, crispy stems.
You can use the whole bunch: stems, leaves and all. Just give the slightly bitter broccoli rabe a good wash after trimming off the stem ends, and you’re good to go!
How To Make This Broccoli Rabe Sausage Dish
This is an easy broccoli rabe recipe – for a full list of ingredients and instructions, please scroll down to the recipe at the end of this page.
- Boil the pasta according to package instructions. Keep the pasta el dente (with some firmness) and reserve some of the cooking water. Drain the pasta (save about 1 cup of the cooking water) and set the pasta aside.
- Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a large skillet. You’re going to build the sauce and everything in this skillet so make sure it is large enough. Add a tbsp of olive oil if your sausage isn’t very fatty.
- When the sausage is browned, drain off the fat. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes until fragrant.
- Add the chopped broccoli rabe and white wine to the skillet. Don’t worry, the broccoli rabe will shrink down. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the sundried tomatoes and ricotta cheese. Heat through until just barely simmering.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the sausage and the broccoli rabe. Mix well, adding some of the cooking water if the mixture is too dry (up to about 1/2 a cup).
- Stir in the lemon juice, butter, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and serve!
Chef Jenn’s tips
- You may see broccoli rabe labeled as broccoli rob – it’s the same thing.
- Saving some pasta cooking water to add back into the pasta dish is an age-old chef’s trick. It’ll add some starch back into this broccoli rabe and sausage recipe, along with more flavor than if you just added water.
- Use spicy sausage if you like your dish to have a bit of a kick!
- White wine is optional but it adds so much depth of flavor.
- Sundried tomatoes come dry or oil-packed. You can use either in this dish. If your sundried tomatoes are dried, soften them by soaking them in about 1/4 cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. You can add the water right into the dish to add tremendous flavor.
- Ricotta lends lots of creaminess to this broccoli rabe and sausage dish. Use extra smooth or whipped ricotta so you don’t get a grainy texture.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like it spicier!
- Italian pork sausage is my pick for this dish, but you could also use turkey sausage, chicken sausage, or your favorite.
Make it a meal
You don’t need much to go with this stunning dish. I’d choose a nice loaf of crusty bread and fresh butter, and a nice leafy salad. This Instant Pot Tomato Gnocchi Soup would also make a delicious appetizer before this hearty meal.
You can keep Italian broccoli rabe and sausage with pasta in the fridge for several days, but it’ll also freeze.
To freeze it: package it in air-tight containers or freezer bags and freeze for up to three months. Thaw, heat and enjoy. You may need to add a bit of water or chicken broth to help moisten it up after reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t overcook it is the easy answer. I usually add the stems first, as they take a bit longer to cook. Then, with just a minute or two left to go, I’ll add the leaves and broccoli-like tops. That way I don’t overcook anything and it all stays bright and green.
Yes! Broccoli rabe and rapini are the same vegetable, but don’t get it confused with broccolini which is young broccoli stems and tops.
I trim about 1/2-inch off the bottom stem ends, then give it a good wash under cold, running water.
Step by step Process (scroll down for the recipe)
Sausage & Broccoli Rabe with Pasta
- 12 ounces dried pasta
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe about 1/2 pound
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes drained or softened and chopped
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- Cook the pasta according to package directions in salted water and drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. Set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, slice the sausage and brown it in a skillet over medium heat. Add a touch of oil if your sausage isn't very fatty. If there's a lot of fat left when the sausage is brown, drain it off.
- Add the minced garlic and heat through an additional 2 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, and add the chopped broccoli rabe. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli rabe has wilted.
- Mix in the sundried tomatoes and ricotta. Heat through then add the pasta and up to about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water if your mixture is too dry.
- Stir in the lemon juice and zest and butter. Season with salt and pepper and top with fershly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
A Note on Nutritional Information
Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.