~ Early morning on the Canal Grande ~

Pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage seems to be as ubiquitous as pasta itself these days.  I love it and of course, my version is already on our Recipes Page.  That said, if you lack the sausage or want to omit the meat for a vegetarian or healthier take, today’s dish is the way to go.  
You could use almost any pasta here as long as it’s not something like Spaghetti.  Rigatoni, Penne, Shells, Gemelli – all would work well.  Enjoy! 

Cavatappi with Broccoli Rabe & Cannellini Beans
1 pound pasta
1 head broccoli rabe
2 cans white beans, rinsed & drained
1 medium vidalia onion
3 cloves garlic, diced
8 small grape tomatoes, halved
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Salt & Pepper to taste
Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Chop the broccoli rabe into 1-2″ lengths and once the water boils, add the broccoli rabe and blanch, 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook them – it should still be firm. 

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan large enough to hold the finished dish, saute the garlic and onions in olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Once the broccoli rabe is finished, use tongs and a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli rabe to the pan with the onions and garlic.  Then cover the pot and return it to a boil. 

~ This is the base of the dish.  If you like, you can also add crushed red pepper. ~

Add the pasta to the pot and cook to al dente.  In the meantime, you can finish the condimento.  Rinse and drain the white beans.  Add to the saute pan and stir to coat being careful not to mash the beans.  Season aggressively with salt and pepper. 

~ Of course, at this stage you have an excellent contorni!  You could stop right here if not making pasta ~

As the pasta is almost cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.  Add the halved tomatoes to the dish.  This does nothing more than brighten up the visual appeal and I like the pop of color.  Don’t put them in too early or they’ll wilt and be mushy. 

~ The tomatoes should be relatively firm and keep their vibrant color and fresh taste ~

Finally,  drain the pasta and add to the pan.  Adjust the consistency of the pasta by using the reserved pasta water.  Normally, about 1/4 cup is enough,  but the beans absorb the moisture so you may need more.  I also added a generous drizzle of olive oil.  

~ Delicious & healthy.  Pass Pecorino at the table! ~

Wine Pairing:  You can easily pair a nice Vernaccia, Frascati or Greco di Tufo with this dish if you’re in the mood for a white.  Otherwise, Chianti Classico works well as does Barbera d’Alba or Dolcetto.  


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