Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Sweet Sausage with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans

The nice thing about a Sunday dinner is that it can "force" you to play around with different dishes. Having a receptive audience for them, of course, makes all the difference in the world.

My family is made up of many broccoli rabe fans, but it’s my dad who especially loves the white bean-sausage-broccoli-rabe combo! I found this recipe in Saveur magazine, but changed it slightly to fit my crowd—and timing. If you are making it for less than 12, you can simply adjust it accordingly. Enjoy--and let me know how you like it!

Sweet Sausage with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans

12 to 16

3 pounds broccoli rabe, rinsed well and trimmed (cut off the tough ends), stems peeled, cut into 2-inch lengths
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced (or minced--I sliced 'em, but my dad complained when he got a big slice, so I'm mincing next time 'round!)
olive oil
3 pounds sweet Italian sausage (you should either remove it from casings, or buy it loose)  
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
1 bunch carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bunch celery, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (plus additional for garnish—if desired)
3 sprigs fresh oregano
1 pound white beans, soaked overnight
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat  the oven to 350°F.  Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on a large baking sheet and then lay the broccoli rabe and sliced garlic on top. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil on top along with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt and then toss to make sure the oil evenly coats the broccoli rabe.

Place the baking dish in the oven for 8 to12 minutes, or until the broccoli rabe is tender (but don’t let it overcook!). Set the broccoli rabe aside.
Uncovering the dish--just before plating!

Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add sausage, and cook, browning on all sides, for about 15 minutes. Break up larger chunks. Remove sausage from pan, and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add the onions, and cook them until soft, about 20 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the browned sausage, and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the rinsed white beans in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then cover them, and reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the beans are just tender, about 40 minutes. Drain the beans, and add them to the sautéed veggies and sausage. Adjust seasoning. Heat through just prior to serving—or serve at room temperature.
In the "line up" with roasted potatoes and salad--


  1. hi my friend, i want to try this. attempting to get more veggies in the mix around here...

    how much is a bunch of carrots and celery. 2-3 carrots, 2 stalks celery????

    missing you and the gang! lots of love from patty in LA

  2. Thanks, Patty! I know--it's sometimes hard to get those cuties to eat all their veggies!
    I made this recipe for 16 and used about 6 carrots, and six stalks of celery. Also, broccoli rabe is not known as a kids' favorite--but if you roast it, as I've described, it does take out some of the bitterness that kids don't usually like. Do let me know how it goes--and I have other kid-friendly vegetable tips to share....
    Missing you, too--and lots of love right back to you!

  3. Hi, Arlen!

    Eric, Margaret and I are going to make this tomorrow. We are sure we will love it, but we'll let you know how MUCH we love it. We do know how MUCH we love you: LOTS!

    Your cousin,

  4. AH! Great-- and do let me know how it comes out! Send pictures! And I so wish I were there WITH YOU GUYS! Love you so much....
    Hugs to you all--
    PS Speaking of cousins, you must check out a small taste of Paul G's work (Facebook...)! He's great--just saw him in Philly.
    PPS Is it Christmas yet?