This Sausage Broccoli Rabe Pasta is hearty, subtly spicy, with rich sausages, sweet peas, and tempered-down broccoli rabe—no blanching required.
It's an easy pasta dinner ready in 35 minutes and comes with a twist.
Starchy chopped potatoes are added to the mix creating a delicate carb coupling—comfort food at its best!
Broccoli rabe sausage pasta with a comfy twist
This broccoli rabe recipe has all the lovely characteristic flavors of a good Italian pasta dish.
Olive oil infused with garlic and onions meets mild spicy sausages, balanced by sweet peas, starchy components, and subdued characteristic flavors of broccoli rabe (a.k.a rapini). Oh, It's good!
Although a meaty dish, broccoli rabe is the star.
I'm softening rabe's bitter flavors, but I'm not eliminating it completely. Trust me, you don't want to.
Soften chunks of Russet potatoes create a lovely creamy texture, and add a beautiful comfy twist, making pasta noodles tastes even better.
It's hearty, cozy, the ultimate comfort food, and my daughter's favorite dinner!
Ingredients & Notes
I'm keeping it simple. But I'm adding seasonings in layers as each ingredient slowly adds an additional flavor to the dish.
- Salt and black pepper
- Cracked dried Rosemary needles: Although subtle, it enhances the flavors of the meat.
Vegetables & Pasta
Broccoli rabe: You only need one bushel. Rapini is known for its very distinctive bitter taste, but it's mellowed down in the easiest way—more on that below—and deliciously balances the sweet and starchy components.
Russet potato: It adds a creamy touch—pasta and potatoes are the perfect union. It's cooked together in the same water as the pasta.
Green onions and garlic: add a lovely aromatic base to this pasta dish. Feel free to add more garlic if preferred.
Frozen peas: You don't even need to defrost them. They add sweetness that works well with broccoli rabe.
Olive oil: It's a must. Olive oil makes pasta, and in this case, potatoes taste better. It creates that rich, savory flavor that you crave when eating this sausage broccoli rabe pasta dish.
Dried short pasta noodles: they will cook for about 10 to 12 minutes or around the same time the potato pieces need to soften. Due to allergies in my family, I often use gluten-free pasta and always return to Jovial.
Parmesan cheese: for garnish and it makes all the flavors of the sausage broccoli rabe pasta bolder, even creamier.
You'll find sweet, mild, or hot Italian sausages at your butcher or local grocery store (well, I'm talking American Italian).
Go for thick mild Italian pork sausages. They're not spicy but still have a punchy flavor.
Note: In North America, the name "Italian sausage" refers to pork sausages that are usually seasoned with fennel, anise, coriander, pepper, and other spices. They usually have three versions: hot (the spiciest), mild (less spicy but still has a punch), or sweet (not spicy at all and often contains Basil).
How to clean broccoli rabe
- First, soak the broccoli rabe in cold water.
- Move it around and separate any tangled leaves, shaking out any dirt.
- Let the vegetable rest for a few minutes so that the dirt can sink to the bottom and the leaves can float to the surface.
- Rinse them again. If you got the vegetable from the farmers' market, you might have to repeat this one to two times more to remove all dirt.
- Gently pat dry with a paper towel.
- Cut ends off the broccoli rabe or anything that might have turned brown.
How to cook broccoli rabe—no blanching required
Instead of using the typical blanching approach, the greeny leaves are cooked twice but everything flows easily with the making of this recipe and no extra water is used.
- First it's simmered in hot water for 7 minutes, the same water is used for cooking the pasta right after.
- Then tossed with the garlic and onions in olive oil to further sauté for a few minutes.
Note: Leaving the leafy parts and florets of the vegetable intact when simmering in water milds down the rabe's bitterness more.
- Once simmered for 7 minutes in hot water, remove the vegetable leaving the hot water in the pot (best using a kitchen tongue) and roughly chop the vegetable into smaller pieces.
- Now, add the broccoli rabe to the sautéed onions and garlic in olive oil, and its bitter flavors will soften even more with a brief sauté.
How to remove the sausage casing
It's super simple.
- Keep the sausages in the fridge until they are ready to be skinned—It will be easier to peel off the skin when the meat is still fairly firm.
- Make a small incision with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.
- Then start peeling off the skin in one swooping motion.
- For this recipe, I break them apart into fairly large pieces.
How to make sausage broccoli rabe pasta—tips for best results
Here are a few tips to have this dish come together in no time for dinner.
- It will take a bit for a medium pot of salted water to come to a boil.
- Use that time to prep the vegetables: peel and chop the potatoes and green onions, and finely chop the garlic. Wash the broccoli rabe.
- Skin the sausages while the broccoli rabe is simmering in the water. It needs about 7 minutes—enough time to remove the sausage casings and break into pieces, then set aside until ready to add to the dish.
- While the pasta and potatoes are boiling (about 12 minutes), use that time to prepare the rest of the dish.
- Heat up olive oil in a large Dutch pan or skillet and cook and stir the onions and garlic until fragrant.
- Then add the chopped broccoli rabe—cook and stir for 5 minutes.
- Followed by the skinned sausages—cook and stir for another 5 to 7 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the pasta and potatoes, but they should be ready around the same time the sausages are fragrant and cooked through.
- Now the starchy components can join the dish.
- Seasonings are added in layers, with a last taste test at the end and before Parmesan cheese rounds off all the flavors.
Time to eat!
More Must-try Italian recipes
- A Sweet and Spicy Red Pasta Sauce with creamy cannellini beans (simple and perfect for a quick dinner).
- Mediterranean Platter (with 7 easy recipes) (a lovely entertaining platter or pick out your favorite dips or spread recipe to enjoy with your favorite glass of wine).
- Polenta pizza Italian-Style (one vegetarian option and one with meat topping—pick your favorite).
- Tender Italian Meatballs (perfect for meal planning and includes low carb options)
- Thick-Crust Sicilian style pizza (A must-make recipe, especially for special occasions, and leftovers are even better
- Mediterranean-style whole roasted chicken with Brie—everything goes in an oven-safe skillet, and the juices and flavors are incredible).
- Easy Italian-spiced Zucchini-pork and potato bowl ( a classic that never fails).
- Zeppole (Italian bite-sized doughnuts made with russet potatoes—a special family recipe).
Sausage Broccoli Rabe Pasta with PotatoesMariska Ramondino
- 1 bushel broccoli rabe 70 grams
- 1 box gluten-free penne 12 ounces or 340 grams
- 1 large Russet potato anywhere from 110 to 240 grams, peeled and chopped
- 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 green onions chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 pound thick mild Italian sausages, skinned (about 3 thick sausages) 454 grams
- ⅓ cup frozen peas 100 grams
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 23 grams
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cracked dried Rosemary needles
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Meanwhile, wash the broccoli rabe.
- Cut off the ends.
- Once water has come to a boil, use a kitchen tongue to dunk the broccoli rabe into the water. Let it simmer for about 7 minutes.
- Then with a kitchen tongue, take out the cooked broccoli rabe or scoop it out—leaving the water intact.
- Transfer to a colander to drain—place on a cutting board and chop into smaller pieces, reserve.
- Return the same water to a boil.
- Add pasta and potato pieces to boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender and pasta is al dente (tender but firm to the bite).
- Meanwhile, cover a large Dutch pan or skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat.
- When shimmering, stir in the onions and garlic. .
- Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add cooked and chopped rabe, and season with a few pinches of salt—Cook and stir for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in again 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sausage.
- Cook and stir for 5 to 7 minutes or until cooked through—season with a few pinches of salt and Rosemary.
- Stir in the peas and cook with the rest for about 1 minute.
- When pasta and potatoes are done, drain, reserving ¼ cup of pasta water. I prefer to transfer the noodles and potatoes with a large slotted spoon to the sausage and broccoli rabe dish.
- Add two tablespoons of olive oil, and stir to combine. Usually not necessary, but add the reserved cooking liquid a few tablespoons at a time as needed to moisten.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately hot with extra cheese on the side (optional).
- While water is coming to a boil, I usually prep the vegetables to save time: peel and chop the potatoes and green onions, and finely chop the garlic. Wash the broccoli rabe.
- Most dried, shorter, thicker pasta shapes cook around 10 to 12 minutes. If your pasta cooks according to package directions in less time, throw the potatoes in first. Peeled and chopped russet potatoes should cook for 10 to 12 minutes and can be perfectly cooked together with shorter dried pasta like penne.
- This pasta dish tastes so much better when paired with starchy Russet potatoes. I usually ad one large one (110 grams), but feel free to add more (up to 240 grams)—it should be enough to get that creamy comfy bite without overpowering the rest of the ingredients.
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Nutrition (% Daily value)
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.