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Kalyn's Kitchen

Penne with Sausage, Beans and Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)

I’ve been on a quest to get my Salt Lake City markets to stock Broccoli Rabe (pronounced raab). I live in the center of Salt Lake and within blocks of my house I have Costco, Smith’s Food King, Albertson’s, and Wild Oats, and I couldn’t find it at any of them. Smith’s promised to get it for me, but when I went to pick up my Broccoli Rabe, it turned out to be broccolini, quite tasty, but not what I was after. This week Smith’s called again to say they had Broccoli Rabe for me (also called Rapini.) But when I went to pick it up, the produce label said Rappini, and I also didn’t see the small buds that were supposed to resemble broccoli. It was only when I decided to cook my Rappini and found a few very small “broccoli” buds that I was convinced that this was really Broccoli Rabe.

According to Gourmet Sleuth, broccoli rabe is low in calories and carbs. It’s commonly called Rapini, or simply Rabe, but here’s a list of other names for Broccoli Rabe from around the world. A quick survey of online recipes for Broccoli Rabe showed that it’s commonly paired with pasta, sausage, beans, garlic, balsamic vinegar, or Parmesan. The recipe I came up with is certainly not unique, but it was completely a keeper for me. This is something I know I will make again and again.

Penne with Sausage, Garbanzo Beans, and Broccoli Rabe
(Makes 6 full-meal servings or 8 small servings, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from many online recipes.)

5 links hot turkey Italian Sausage (19.5 oz.)
1 large bunch Broccoli Rabe (next time I might double it, which would lower the carbs)
1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed very well and drained
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
3 cups (dry) Dreamfield’s Penne
(reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Heat a 12 inch frying pan and squeeze sausage out of casing into pan. Saute until very well browned, breaking up into smaller pieces with turner. While sausage browns, rinse beans very well (until all foam is gone) and let drain.

Wash Broccoli Rabe very well (I used a salad spinner) and then cut crosswise into ribbons. I also chopped some of the stems, but discarded the bottom portion of the stem.

In large deep frying pan, heat olive oil, add Broccoli Rabe, and saute until it has shrunk by half. Add sausage and beans to Broccoli Rabe. Deglaze sausage pan with 1/4 cup chicken stock, and add that and balsamic vinegar to pan with Broccoli Rabe, sausage and beans.

Let sausage/veggie mixture braise while you bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne 9-10 minutes, or until barely al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta well and put back into pot you cooked pasta in. Add sausage/veggie mixture and pasta cooking water and stir to combine. Cook 2 minutes, then add parmesan cheese, stir once more, and serve hot.

South Beach Suggestions:

I made this with Dreamfield’s Pasta, with only 5 net carbs per serving, and beans are considered a *good* carb on The South Beach Diet. Still, if you eat this as a full-meal serving it’s probably best for phase three. If you’re on phase two, I would recommend a small serving of this, with a big green salad on the side.  (Edit June 2011 – I have recently learned that if Dreamfields pasta is cooked for a long time or reheated it increases the glycemic index, so this recipe is probably only for phase 3 if reheated.)
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17 comments on “Penne with Sausage, Beans and Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)”

  1. Pugmom3, thanks so much for letting me know it was a hit for you! I love these flavors.

  2. Hi Kalyn, I love your website and all your recipes I have tried so far have been great. I tried this dish last night with great results. I did not have any rabe, but I used fresh spinach, which turned out great. Also made it without the pasta since we had another starch with dinner. THe spinach, garbanzos and turkey sausage still tasted greta together with the seasonings. Will make this again for sure.

  3. That pasta looks fabulous! I actually succeeded in growing some broccoli rabe one year, and, as with everything in the garden, it was absolutely delicious. Apparently, though, that one year was a fluke. I gave up after several more years of failure, but I should really keep trying. It’s a lovely vegetable.

    P.S. I do happen to have some purple sprouting broccoli seedlings in my greenhouse right now. I’m pretty sure it’s broccoli, purple in color, and the “sprouting” part refers to the fact that it puts on lots of little baby heads besides the big main one. I’ll let you know if I have any success with it. At this point, it’ll probably be too hot to get a crop, but I never give up with broccoli. Love it too much!

  4. Every time I see broccoli rabe in the store, I think of you. Hm. Dry ice? Fed Ex?

  5. Yummm, so glad that you found some!!

    I just did my WHB with something not on that diet!! Opppps sorry!!


  6. seems it’s Italian style hearty food all over 🙂
    finally got around to write another WHB! looking forward to tomorrow to see what recipes are coming in.

  7. Hurrah!!! So glad to hear that your store manager finally found rapini for you. Isn’t it wonderful?

    Rapini is also really good stirfried in olive oil with roasted garlic.


  8. Mona, Karina, MM, Rorie, and Patti, I wish you guys could all come to my house for dinner and I would make this for you. Thanks for visiting.

  9. This looks great Kayln. Thanks for posting this.

  10. Broccoli Rabe is just about my favorite vegetable – your pasta looks delicious!

  11. Yums, me hungry now. Hey, I know I have been out of it but I kind of cleared my deadline so I guess I have the time to cook this weekend. So I think I will be able to post for WHB after a long sabbatical. I really like your past few recipes – am on a veggie kick at the moment after all the rich foods I have had to eat recently.

  12. My kind of comfort food – hearty and healthy!

  13. oh man that looks so good. i made mine with just the sausage and rabe but love the garbonzo bean addition. i am definitely going to have to try that kalyn 🙂 happy friday!

  14. Sher, it was delish beyond belief.

    AK, thanks again for the inspiration.

    Mae, I have no idea if this is the same as purple sprouting broccoli, but I don’t really think so. It’s good we have Alanna to inspire us towards these amazing veggies isn’t it.

  15. So is brocolli Rabe different from Purple Sprouting Brocolli? Or are they same but different colour? Alanna has seriously been cooking some brocolli…

    BTW, sausage penne pasta is one of my fav. This looks delish.

  16. Hi Kalyn! So glad you finally scrounged some up. The produce manager who ordered it for me says that it’s flying off the shelves – too bad I can’t take credit since I’ve not written about it in the local paper yet! See you at WHB — think “tarragon”!

  17. Oh boy!! That’s my kind of dish. Everything in it works so well together.

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