Food Network chef David Rocco spices up bitter rapini with sausage and chilies in his Italian cookbook David Rocco's Dolce Vita. Blanched in boiling water and sautéed in olive oil and garlic, rapini takes on an incredible flavour. This is one of those all-in-one dishes in which you get your protein and vegetables side-by-side.
1 large bunch rapini
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Whole chili peppers
8 pork sausages, each about 3 oz.
Step 1: Wash the rapini in cold water, cut it into small pieces and throw it in a big pot of boiling salted water. It may look like a lot of rapini but, like spinach, it cooks down considerably, so always get more than you think you need. And honestly, who cares if there's extra? This stuff tastes amazing the next day in a sandwich with some great cheese. Cook the rapini for a couple of minutes, drain it well and set it aside.
Step 2: Heat a saucepan over high heat, add a good amount of olive oil and brown the garlic and chili peppers.
Step 3: Add your rapini, tossing it a few times over high heat.
Step 4: Lower the heat to medium, add some salt, and let it cook for a few minutes, tossing it every so often.
Step 5: Set another frying pan on medium-high heat. Add a little bit of olive oil. Put your sausages in and let them get brown on the outside, then pierce them each a couple of times to release some of the fat.
Step 6: Lower the heat to medium and continue until the sausages are cooked through. If you find that your sausages are sticking to the pan, don't add more oil, just a splash of water.
Step 7: When the sausages are cooked through, add them to the other pan to meet their new mates, and cook together for a few minutes.
Alternate idea: Cook up some orecchiette pasta. While that's cooking, cut the rapini and sausages into small pieces. When the pasta is done, drain the water, reserving about a cup, put the orecchiette back into the pot with the reserved pasta water, rapini and sausage, and cook it for another minute or so, letting the water reduce. Then add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Reprinted with permission from David Rocco's Dolce Vita (2008 Harper Collins Canada).