This flavorful, hearty, and comforting southern Italian pasta with rapini and sausage is a quick and easy well-balanced meal for any night of the week.
This recipe is loosely based on the traditional orecchiette con cime di rapa meal from southern Italy of orecchiette pasta with crumbled Italian sausage and broccoli rabe.
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This great dish makes a perfect weeknight dinner or any time you are looking for a quick and easy meal. I am a big fan of any meal that can be made in under 30 minutes! Another wonderful thing about this dish is that it can be switched up depending on your tastes and what ingredients you have available.
What is Rapini?
If you aren’t familiar with rapini, you may know it by another name – broccoli rabe. They are one and the same but not to be confused with broccolini, which is different. Rapini is a leafy green vegetable with a slightly bitter taste to it. Despite the name, it is actually not part of the broccoli family, as you would imagine. Instead, it’s part of the turnip family.
Rapini is filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and has been shown to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
What Is In This Italian Dish?
As I mentioned, it is very versatile. The ingredients for my Pasta with Rapini and Sauage are below, but I will share some simple variations that may interest you.
Rapini – While I use an imported jarred version, you may choose to use fresh rapini. Martha Stewart shows you how to boil and blanch it here. You’ll need to do this before adding it to your skillet.
Sausage – I used an Italian-style chicken sausage, but sweet or hot Italian pork sausage or turkey sausage can easily be substituted.
Pasta – You can really use any pasta with this dish. Ziti and penne are my favorites when I make this, but feel free to experiment with your favorite.
Hot Pepper Spread – The spicy kick that this meal has is a big draw for me, but I know not everyone feels the same way. You can adjust the amount or omit it altogether if you prefer. If hot pepper spread is not available, red pepper flakes can be used instead.
14 oz pasta (medium size works best, such as penne, ziti, orecchiette, rigatoni)
18 oz jar of rapini (broccoli rabe), undrained
1 lb Italian sausage links
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp hot pepper spread
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
salt & pepper, to taste
How To Make Pasta with Rapini and Sausage
Cook time – 25 minutes
Boil a pot of salted water and cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large deep skillet and cook the sausage over medium heat. Once the sausage is cooked to a golden brown, remove it from the skillet and set it aside to cool slightly before cutting it into one-inch bite sizes pieces.
Add the remaining olive oil to your skillet with the rapini. If using jarred rapini, be sure to use the brine included in the rapini jar. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper, to taste. Saute it all over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes.
For great pasta dishes, be sure to check out my other recipes:
Pesto Artichoke Spaghetti
Cauliflower Gnocchi with Butternut Squash
Pasta with Artichokes and Tomatoes
Add in the sausage and hot pepper spread, stirring to combine. Slowly add in the pasta, mixing everything together as you go. Season with additional salt & pepper, if desired. Remove from heat.
Serve in pasta bowls. I love to sprinkle a bit of grated Pecorino cheese on top. Actually, that’s not true…I love to sprinkle A LOT of grated Pecorino cheese on top!
A delicious twist on a classic Italian dish featuring pasta, rapini, and sausage in a hearty meal.
Check out some other southern Italian recipes:
Let me know in the comments below how you enjoyed this recipe!
Pasta with Rapini and Sausage
- 14 oz pasta
- 18 oz jar of rapini (broccoli rabe) undrained
- 1 lb Italian sausage links
- 4 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 tbsp hot pepper spread
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a pot of salted water and cook pasta according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large deep skillet and cook sausage over medium heat. Once sausage is cooked and golden brown remove from skillet and set aside.
- Add remaining olive oil to skillet with undrained rapini, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper, to taste. Saute over medium heat for 6-8 minutes.
- Cut the sausage into approximately one-inch pieces and place in skillet with rapini. Add the hot pepper spread and stir to combine.
- Slowly add in the pasta, mixing everything together as you go. Add additional salt & pepper, if desired. Remove from heat. Add to pasta bowls and serve.