One of the nicest things about having old friends visit is that they don't expect any kind of fuss with a meal. Today we had some high school friends visit which was wonderful. The meal I prepared worked out really well and was not time consuming. You can cook your sausage and broccolini ahead of time which makes this meal very easy so you can enjoy your company.
A simple but easy meal is the one I have below. Good sausage really helps make it flavorful. I used rigatoni but suggest penne as a better option.
I felt there was too much pasta and it overtook the wonderful sausage and broccolini so a smaller pasta I think would work better. Also make sure you save some of the pasta water that you cook your pasta in. You may need it to moisten your dish. Too much pasta tends to dry out quickly. Having said that I think you'll enjoy this recipe.
1 lb. Fresh Mild or Hot Ground Sausage
1 lb rigatoni or penne
1 head broccoli rabe ( you may need two heads or use regular broccoli but separate in small florets)
1 large tomato, diced or 1 carton sliced in half cherry tomatoes
6 cloves of peeled garlic, crushed
4 oz olive oil
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Drop in pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta water.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil set over high heat. Place the sausage in the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside on paper towel-lined dish.
Either steam or cook broccoli florets in boiling salt water about 1-2 minutes with 2 tablespoons of salt. Transfer florets to bowl of ice water and once ice melts, drain and set aside. (you can use regular broccoli if broccolini isn't available).
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in sauté pan until hot. Add the crushed garlic cloves and sauté until slightly golden being careful not to burn, add sausage, broccoli rabe and tomatoes. Saute and toss for 2-3 minutes.
Add pasta to the pan with the Pecorini Romano cheese, half of the reserved pasta water, salt and pepper. Toss for 1-2 minutes until ingredients are integrated. If pasta seems dry, add more of the pasta water as needed.
Garnish with a handful of grated cheese.
Happy Cooking from my kitchen to yours,