Don't you just love it when a dish comes together? Don't you love it even more when it consists of seven ingredients, all of which are coincidentally sitting around your kitchen, with no previously assigned purpose?
Yeah, those are good times.
I stumbled over Mark Bittman's Broccoli Rabe with Sausage and Grapes by pure serendipity, while researching beets in How to Cook Everything. The necessary produce was already crowding my crisper drawer, and the oil and seasonings were standing ready in the pantry. Even better, a trip to the freezer revealed two links of sweet Italian turkey sausage, which, when subbed in for their pork equivalents, would lighten the meal considerably.
And whaddaya know? Just about 30 minutes later, there it was: a simple, healthy, slightly unorthodox weeknight dinner. Broccoli rabe was the star of the show, meaning the dish was somewhat bitter, though not paralyzingly so. Fortunately, two big handfuls of grapes provided sweetness and balance. The turkey had some sort of flavor function, too, but mostly, it was just nice to have around.
If you should try it yourself, remember to really wring the broccoli rabe after its initial boil. The vegetable retains a lot of water, which will bog down the final product if not disposed of. Don't be afraid to add extra olive oil, either. Heck, the more, the merrier.
Actually, that's a pretty good slogan for successful, unplanned meals overall: The more, the merrier.
- 1 pound broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
- 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage links
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more if necessary
- 2 large cloves garlic, slivered
- About 1/2 lb seedless red grapes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cut broccoli rabe in half. Boil until stalks start becoming tender, about 3 minutes. Remove and plunge into ice bath, or drain and soak with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch nonstick pan over medium heat. Prick sausage with fork, add it to pan, and brown well on all sides. When browned, remove sausage from pan and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add olive oil to pan and let it warm for a few seconds before adding sausage back to pan. Cook sausage about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pieces are fully browned.
Squeeze broccoli rabe well to get rid of the excess moisture. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Add to pan with garlic and cook until heated, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add grapes and cook until fruit is heated through, another 3 to 4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.