Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lou's Most Excellent Pork & Broccoli Pasta

For a quick, weeknight meal if you've got the sauce - or any sauce - made or in a jar. Inspired from the book "Urban Italian."

3 cups of Lou's Most Excellent Tomato Gravy
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 can of chickpeas
1/2 pound broccoli rabe florettes
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
1 TSP fennel seed, coarsely ground in mortar & pestle or spice grinder
1 TSP or more, red pepper flakes
1/4 pound thin cut salami, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Grated parmesan cheese
Penne pasta, rotini, rigatoni, or some other tube pasta.

In a sauce pan add ~ 3 TBS olive oil and two minced cloves of garlic. Saute over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle, about 30 seconds. Add the sausage and saute until done, breaking the meat up into small, dime sized pieces while cooking.

While this is cooking drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid, and add 2/3 of the peas to a blender and all the liquid. "Liquify" for one minute.

Add LME Gravy, basil and fennel seed and bring to a gentle boil. Add chickpea puree and cover reducing the heat to simmer.

Blanch the broccoli rabe florettes in boiling salted water for 60 seconds, drain, and cold shock into an ice water bath. Drain well and set aside.

Begin cooking pasta.

In a frying pan add 2 TBS olive oil and remaining garlic. Add salami pieces and cook until just a little crispy, then add florettes, remaining chickpeas, and red pepper flakes. Saute on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Drain pasta quickly and return to the pot or a new bowl.* Add one large ladle - about 1/2 cup - of sauce and toss.

Serve pasta with pork sauce and top with cooked florettes. Add Parmesan as desired.

* If using long noodles like spaghetti, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining. After draining, add back this water to the pasta before tossing with the sauce.

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