Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuscan Rapini and Spicy Sausage

One of the best dishes I had when I was in Italy was rapini and sausage.  It's so simple, yet so delicious. 

I ordered this dish and took a hundred pictures of it at this restaurant in Lucca, called Antica Locana di Sesto.  Locals were staring at me.  I just stared back.  What?  You don't take pictures of every single thing you eat?  Then the show "Locked Up Abroad" came to mind so I piped down.  I feel like getting into a fight over food with a local in Italy would be grounds for an arrest.  I wouldn't do well in jail.

The ingredients are easy, but rapini can be hard to find.  It's usually hiding by the cilantro or parsley in a regular super market.  If you can't find it, I would hit up Whole Foods or your local Italian market. 
Gather the following ingredients:
Rapini (aka Brocolli Rabe)
Red Pepper Flakes
Hot Italian Sausage
White Wine
Olive Oil

Doesn't rapini look like a bridal bouquet?  I know.  I'm mental.

Cut off the bottom stems.  These are tough and chewy and not what you want.  We want the meaty leaves.

Rinse and rinse again.  Rapini is very dense and thick so dirt can get caught very easily.  Nothing worse than chewing on grit.  Gross.  It's like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Throw the rapini into a pan that has an inch or two of simmering water.  It's important to do this step to remove some of the bitterness.  Rapini is Biiiii-iiiii-iiiii-ter, so if you just threw it in a pan with some olive oil it would not be good.

Keep moving the greens around until they are tender, about 2-3 minutes or so.

Throw the rapini in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

Smush a couple of garlic cloves with the back of your hand and remove the shell.  Give the garlic a really rough chop.  I sort of like how big chunks of garlic look in this dish.  Looks more rustic.

Add some olive oil to the skillet and throw in the garlic.  Add your sausage, some red pepper flakes, and mix around. 

Once the sausage begins to get brown and crispy, deglaze the pan with some white wine.  I used Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Cook for 2-3 minutes to cook off that raw wine flavor.

Add the rapini back into the pan and toss so all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Finish with a heavy sprinkling of parmesan.  This is so good - hearty and comforting.  Serve this as a side dish or as a first course, or as dinner tonight.  Stay hungry!

Tuscan Rapini & Spicy Sausage Recipe
2 Bunches of Rapini
1 Pound Spicy Italian Sausage
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1/2 Cup White Wine

Rinse rapini well and cut off bottom stems.  Cook in simmering water for 2-3 minutes or until wilted.  Move to ice water bath to cool.  In skillet, add olive oil and roughly chopped garlic.  Add sausage and red papper flakes.  Add more or less pepper flakes depending on your taste.   Deglaze with white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add rapini back to skillet and toss to incorporate ingredients.  Serve with parmesan and enjoy!


  1. Thanks for stopping by my site. This looks delicious, and simple at the same time. I'll have to hunt around for Broccoli Rabe - I love the location the Army has moved us to except for the fact that Walmart is the "gourmet" grocery option here.

  2. This looks wonderful, I am actually picturing it with your polenta recipe. I didn't want to have straight carbs so this will be perfect with it.


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