Here I go again

burrata

I keep entertaining the idea of “retiring” from all of this recipe-writing nonsense, but food52 keeps luring me back in. So I wrote a recipe. Sort of. It’s imprecise and adaptable, and it’s for a dish I absolutely love making when I can get my hands on impeccably fresh burrata.

Burrata Bruschetta with Broccoli Rabe

Gilding the lily? Guilty as charged. Click here for my recipe.

The No-Brainer

Dinner:  September 13, 2007

Everybody’s got one – the meal you could put together in your sleep, the dish you fall back on when you’re short on time, energy and inspiration. Between the crazy work schedules Mike and I have had of late, and the fact that I’m spending much of my remaining time putting the finishing touches on (i.e. obsessing and stressing over) plans for our upcoming cocktail party, thinking of what to make for dinner is becoming a bit of a challenge.

I was completely at a loss yesterday as to what to cook, so I pulled out my no-brainer: skinless, boneless chicken breasts simmered in homemade tomato sauce spiked with several fresh basil leaves, topped with melty fresh mozzarella and served with a sautéed green on the side (in this case, broccoli rabe with garlic and chile flakes). It may not be the prettiest meal to look at, but this quick, easy and satisfying weeknight supper totally hit the spot.

Fall back and punt

Dinner:  August 29, 2007

When I wrote up our meal plan for the week, our original thought for Wednesday evening was that Mike would come home early and grill pizzas. As it turned out, he did come home early, but the heavy overtime he has been working caught up with him a bit and we decided to hold off on the pizza-making until this coming weekend. I’ve been devoting a lot of time and energy to testing recipes for our upcoming cocktail party, so I decided to go with an old standby for dinner – Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. This is this dish’s third appearance on this site, but when something is this easy to make and reliably good, it’s worth repeating.

Recipe Redux: Orrecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

broccoli rabe

We picked up some of our favorite hot Italian sausage (from Flying Pigs) and a big bunch of broccoli rabe earlier in the week hoping to use them to top our first grilled pizzas of the season, but once again Mother Nature foiled our plans. With sporadic storms still coming through the area, we just didn’t want to risk ruining our meal, so we decided to go with Plan B: Orrecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe, a perennial favorite.

Rocambole garlic

I stuck to my basic recipe and method, which I’ve written up here before, but since Mike had brought home two big bunches of Rocambole garlic – with the scapes still attached! – from Keith’s Farm on Wednesday, I decided to use that in place of the garlic scapes I used last time. (I was really eager to play with this particular garlic anyway – I’m in the middle of It’s a Long Road to a Tomato and had just finished the chapter about how their garlic came to be. It’s a delightful story.)

Dinner:  June 28, 2007

The only other differences in last night’s version of this dish were the substitution of white vermouth for white wine, as well as the addition of a couple of pinches of red chile flakes and a cup or so of chopped fresh tomato I had left over from Wednesday’s lunch, both of which I added at the same time as the garlic. The tomato cooked all the way down into the sauce and left a nice hint of sweetness, and the chile flakes gave it a nice little kick.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Green Garlic

Orecchiette with sausage, rabe and green garlic

Every week I have a new reason to love that Mike’s new job is just blocks from the Union Square Greenmarket. This week, it was all about the spring green – young, tender broccoli rabe, spring onions and two bunches of green garlic, the first bunch of which I made into a delicious (but not very photogenic) soup, and the second of which I chopped up to add to last night’s pasta dinner.

green garlic

I love the classic combination of orecchiette pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe, and I make it often during the months when rabe is in season. I decided to change it up just a bit this time around, using a chicken and roasted red pepper sausage instead of an Italian pork sausage, and substituting chopped green garlic for the clove or three of regular garlic I usually use. It was a winning combination, lighter and brighter tasting than my normal version, and just the thing for a busy weeknight meal.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Green Garlic

1/2 box orecchiette
1/2 lb. savory chicken sausage
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1 bunch young broccoli rabe, chopped into about 1 inch lengths
1 bunch green garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or similar cheese

Get a large pot of water boiling, and when it comes to a vigorous boil, add a generous amount of salt.

While the water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil in a deep saute pan. Remove the chicken sausage from its casings and crumble into the pan, breaking it up with a spoon into bite-sized chunks. Allow the sausage to cook through until it is no longer pink, then add tomato paste and stir it through. Let the sausage and tomato paste caramelize, then add wine and stir through.

Place the broccoli rabe into the boiling salted water just briefly until it turns bright green. Remove it using a spider or slotted spoon and place it directly into the saute pan with the sausage. Add the green garlic, season with salt and stir through until well combined.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until just short of al dente, 8-10 minutes. Spoon the pasta and a little bit of its cooking water into the sausage mixture, stirring well, and allow it to finish cooking in the sauce. Off the heat, stir in about 1/3 cup of grated cheese, spoon pasta into warmed bowls and top with additional cheese.