marisa mariella

easy mouthwatering recipes that unite your family and friends

Pasta con rapini e salciccia

Marisa Mariella
I love love love rapini! The truth is that during winter months, when rapini are fresh and plentiful, I usually have a large bowl of cooked and sauteed rapini in the fridge, ready to eat with a toasted piece of Calabrese bread and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I also love adding the cooked rapini to soup or I use them as a pizza topping. If I have enough in the fridge, that's when I whip up this recipe that brings together spicy pork sausage and pasta. So here's my suggestion! Make a lot of rapini and keep them in the fridge. On a day that you need to have dinner ready in minutes, brown the sausage, boil the pasta, and toss with the rapini. Just be sure to save some rapini so you can find other creative ways of adding these luscious greens!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings


For Rapini:

  • 2 bunches rapini (If you would like leftover rapini, then double the amount. You will use half for this recipe and half will be stored as leftovers.)
  • 5 - 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half (or 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped)

For Sausage Mixture:

  • 4 - 6 links good quality Italian pork sausages
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh hot pepper (optional) (or hot pepper flakes, to taste)
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • 1 pkg pasta (450g of strozapretti or orecchiette or cavatelli
  • salt, to taste
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling


  • Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. This pot will be used cook the rapini. In the meantime, discard any discoloured rapini leaves. Trim the stems and score the larger ones with a paring knife. You may wish to cut the rapini in 2-inch pieces. Wash well in water and rinse. Set aside.
  • Once the pot reaches boiling, add the cleaned rapini and stir. There should be enough water that once the voluminous leaves wilt, they are just barely submerged in the water. At this point, turn down the heat to medium and let simmer for about 15 minutes with lid, or until your desired tenderness is reached. Lift the rapini from the water. Discard the water.
  • Place the rapini back in the pot and place on stove on medium heat. Add the olive oil, salt, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir and let simmer for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your preferred doneness. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from pan and set aside. (At this point, the rapini can be served as a side or refrigerated).
  • While the rapini are simmering, set another large pot of water to boil for the pasta. In the meantime, prepare the sausage meat. Remove the casing from the sausage and crumble it with your hands. In a large skillet, add the sausage and with a wooden spoon, break it up and brown well. If you are using a cast iron pan, be sure to heat the skillet before adding the sausage. There should be enough fat from the sausage that you don't have to add any olive oil but if you are finding the meat is too dry, add a little oil.
  • Once the pasta pot comes to a boil, add the pasta and follow the directions of the package. You will need to lift the pasta from the water a few minutes before it is fully cooked.
  • Once the sausage meat is cooked, remove from the skillet and set aside. If there is a lot of fat drippings, drain from the pan and discard. Add a couple of tablespoons olive oil and the garlic with hot pepper, if using. Sauté lightly. Do not brown the garlic or you risk burning it. Add the white wine and stir to remove the browned bits on the pan.
  • Add the rapini to the skillet. Lift the pasta from the pot and add to the skillet. Toss well, adding some of the pasta water if it seems dry.
  • Add the browned meat and continue adding a little of the pasta water if it seems dry. Toss well for a minute so that the pasta begins to absorb some of the moisture.
  • Serve immediately, adding a drizzle of olive oil. If you prefer, you can add freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.



Depending on your preferences, this recipe translates deliciously into a vegetarian or vegan meal. The other benefit to this recipe is that you control what ratio of pasta, rapini, and meat.  Be creative and use your favourite pasta. I love it with orecchiette, strozzapreti, and cavatelli. And.... don't be stingy with the olive oil!
If you are looking for a mouthwatering antipasto or an afternoon snack, toast slices of good quality Italian bread and add the rapini, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Looking for something a little more impressive? Cook up a batch of polenta and serve with rapini on top! Oh... so good!
If you prefer rapini that have a little bite, then consider cooking them with the pasta. Instead of boiling and sauteing them, simply add the raw rapini and pasta together to the pot of boiling salted water. A few minutes before they are cooked, sauté the garlic in olive oil and add the hot pepper, if using. Lift both the pasta and rapini from the pot and add to the skilled. Toss with the browned meat, adding some pasta water to keep the mixture moist.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve. This method means that there is one less pot to clean!
Keyword pasta, rapini, sausage