Whole Wheat Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Sausage
Who says a pasta dish cannot have many health benefits? This Pasta dish is one of my families favorite go-to meals. It has it all when it comes to comfort food. It is filling, taste great, healthy, and quick and easy to prepare.
Broccoli rabe or Rapini is a delicious side dish when it’s steamed or sautéed and seasoned with fresh garlic, pepper, and a pinch of salt. The slightly bitter-tasting leaves and stems of broccoli raab are also supercharged with a range of nutrients, including potassium, iron and calcium, dietary fiber and as well as vitamins A, C and K. Broccoli rabe also contains lutein, which is an antioxidant that protects the retinas of your eyes from damage caused by free radicals. Broccoli rabe is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Thanks to its broad nutritional profile, rapini or broccoli rabe can offer a whole host of health benefits.
Lighten It Up
This is a very versatile and quick meal to prepare. You can get creative. To make this a vegetarian meal, you can replace the sausage with a 16 oz can cannelloni beans or toasted pine nuts. It’s just as tasty!
As well, if sausage is not your thing, add cooked chicken breast or omit the meat and add-ins altogether. It still has a lot of great flavor. Also, make sure to use sun dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil. I use organic whole wheat pasta for a healthy alternative.
Eat This With That
This dish served with a beautiful side salad and you have a meal ready in only 15-20 minutes! To change it up a bit, you can use different types of pasta and different sausages for a whole different flavor and texture.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Yields: 4 Servings
- 1 pound (a large bunch) broccoli rabe, rinsed, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces (large stems removed)
- 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta (or other favorite short pasta)
- Salt for the Pasta water
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like things)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound Italian style sausage, cut into 1" slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ounces sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), roughly chopped
- 1/2 to 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot (4-quart pot filled at least half-way) of water to a boil. Place the broccoli rabe in the boiling water. Blanch for one minute, then use a slotted spoon to remove the broccoli rabe from the hot water to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the broccoli rabe and pat dry with paper towels.
- In the same pot of boiling water, add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Usually anywhere from 7-10 minutes.
- Once the pasta is in the water, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium to medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink in the center. Add the chopped garlic and the red chile flakes. Cook until the garlic just begins to brown at the edges. Then add to the pan the blanched broccoli rabe. Toss to coat with the olive oil, chile flakes, and garlic. Sprinkle with salt.
- Cook the broccoli rabe about 5 minutes, until just tender. Stir in the chopped sun dried tomatoes. When the pasta is done, drain it (reserving some of the pasta water) and add it to the broccoli rabe. Sprinkle everything with black pepper and the grated Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to the mixture for added moisture and to make a light sauce.