Be sure to use a tomato sauce that has developed an intense tomato flavor. it will add the perfect base for this — and many other dishes.
For the Sauce
- 1 (15-ounce ) can chickpeas
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb spicy Italian sausage
- 3 cups basic tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
For the Broccoli Rabe and Rigatoni
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, cleaned of out leaves and bottom stems trimmed
- 1 lb rigatoni
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, sliced Goodfellas thin
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
To Finish the Dish
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
To prepare the sauce
Drain the chickpeas well, reserving the liquid. Blend half the chickpeas (about 1 cup) and all their liquid on high until the mixture forms a smooth paste, about 1 minute.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Squeeze the sausage out of the casing and add the meat to the pan. Brown it, stirring regularly and breaking the meat up into small pieces with a spoon or potato masher.
Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
Add the chickpea puree and the fennel seed and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until the mixture forms a loose sauce and the flavors are combined, about 15 minutes.
To prepare the broccoli rabe and the rigatoni
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Blanch the broccoli rabe until the stems are just softened and the color has deepened, about 90 seconds. remove with a slotted spoon or spider to a bowl of ice water to immediately stop the cooking process.
Return the water to a boil, add the rigatoni, and cook until its al dente. Drain, but do not rinse, the pasta.
Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saute pan. Add the broccoli rabe, garlic, red pepper flakes, and the remaining half of the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the greens are well coated, about 1 minute.
To finish the dish
Return the rigatoni to the pot. Add the sauce and cook on medium-high heat, mixing well, until the pasta is well coated , about 1 minute.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter, olive oil, and half the pecorino cheese. Transfer to a large serving dish and pour the broccoli rabe and chickpea mixture over the top. Top with the rest of the pecorino cheese and serve immediately.
Source: Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes, from the editors of Food & Wine. Recipe by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman, Urban Italian