Sunday, May 22, 2011

Keegan's Rigatoni Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage - Erin

This is a favorite family dinner that was originally taught to Keegan by Andrea Caselli who helped to build our kitchen.  He is also a chef, cooking teacher and restaurateur who grew up cooking in his family’s restaurant in Italy.  He is an incredible cook whose recipes are deceptively simple and always delicious.  As a treat when our kitchen was finally finished he offered to come and cook for us.  He decided that Keegan should be his helper and suited him up with an apron and taught him how to cook this dish.  It is simple and so good.  We’ve had it numerous times—even camping and it’s always devoured, but in the off chance there’s any left over, we have been known to pick at it straight out of the fridge.

 what you will need

1½ 1-lb. packages of breakfast sausage links, cut into pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch broccoli, cut into medium stems
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
No salt (says Andrea, but I use a little)
1 1-lb. package rigatoni pasta (I only had penne, whatever)

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Dump in broccoli and cook until dark green and tender—just a few minutes. Scoop out of pot using a skimmer—or with the pasta insert if you are using one. Set aside. Bring pot to boil again, add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a little pasta water, and set aside (Do not rinse).

While pasta is cooking, in a very large sauté pan heat olive oil and brown sausage. If there is a tremendous amount of grease, spoon sausage out of pan, pour off and discard grease (NOT down the sink—unless you enjoy flooding and paying Roto Rooter to clean out your drain) and return sausage to pan. If you think you need it, add additional olive oil. Over medium heat, add garlic, red pepper and black pepper to pan. Chop broccoli coarsely. Add in broccoli and sauté to blend flavors. Add in pasta and toss to re-warm. Check and adjust for seasoning. You may want to add a little pasta water to moisten it a bit if it seems dry. Enjoy!

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