SALSICCIE CON CIME DI RAPA (Italian sausages with broccoli rabe, for four)
2 large bunches broccoli rabe, trimmed (cut off an inch or so of the stem end and remove any large, bruised or discolored leaves)
2 pounds sweet Italian sausages (fennel sausage preferred)
¼ to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (depending on how fatty the sausages are)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
black pepper to taste
- Wash the broccoli in several changes of cold water.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt, and drop in the broccoli. Cook until tender but still quite firm, (or steam in the basket basket of a vegetable steamer, covered, over a couple of inches of boiling water for about 3 minutes, until just tender but still crunchy). Drain, refresh under cold tap water to stop the cooking and set aside.
- Choose a skillet or saute pan large enough to accommodate both the sausages and, subsequently, the greens. Put in ¼ cup of water, the sausages and turn the heat to medium-high. Prick the sausages in several places with a fork.
- When the water evaporates, allow the sausages to brown thoroughly on one side, then add another ¼ cup of water. When this evaporates, brown the sausages on the other side. Transfer the sausages to a dish, using a slotted spoon or spatula, leaving the dark browning residues in the pan.
- If the pan juices, including the melted fat from the sausages, amount to 1 tablespoon or less, put 1/3 cup olive oil in the pan. If the fat and juices are more abundant, reduce the amount of olive oil to ¼ cup. Add the garlic and turn the heat down to medium.
- When the garlic becomes colored a pale gold, add the cooked broccoli. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning several times to coat them thoroughly with the pan juices. Taste for salt and sprinkle with a grinding or two of pepper, then remove to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep hot.
- Add the sausages to the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, covered, turning them over with from time to time, until they are cooked through. Place on top of the broccoli and serve piping hot.
adapted from Marcella Hazan, Marcella’s Italian Kitchen