Here in Atlanta we have some amazing small businesses that are creating “slow food”. To me, it is very important that meat become a slow food. We will definitely pay a bit more for good quality, responsibly raised meat. I have always appreciated that the base of Italian food doesn’t require a lot of complexity to create great food, just good ingredients! When you use high quality ingredients, that is all you need to make a delicious dish. I am always trying to incorporate that philosophy into my cooking.
This dish was inspired by the Italian classic “orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage.” I have an obsession with Asian food and I really love incorporating Asian ingredients into everyday meals in our house. Chinese broccoli is very different from American broccoli. It’s leafy and very crunchy. It’s made up of mostly stems, which you primarily don’t eat on American broccoli because it is tough, but on Chinese broccoli they are crunchy and tender. Chinese broccoli just requires a quick saute and you are done!
Back to slow foods. This dish mainly gets its flavor from the sausage. We used a country sausage from the awesome Pine Street Market, a butcher, here in Atlanta. The pigs are bred and raised here in GA, and they really put a lot of love behind their products. Their country sausage has a lot of flavor and is great quality (good meat to fat ratio). I recommend you use the best quality sausage you can find when making this dish. It makes all the difference!
- 1 lb short pasta (such as ziti, penne, or orecchiete)*
- 2 bunches Chinese broccoli, chopped into 2" pieces
- 1 lb bulk fresh (good quality) pork sausage*
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes*
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- In a large pan, heat grapeseed oil over medium heat. Once hot, add red pepper flakes and sausage. Saute sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon in to small pieces. It should take about 6-8 minutes to cook through and render the fat.
- Cook pasta al dente according to the box. Drain and set aside.
- Raise heat to medium-high and add broccoli, garlic, and ginger. Toss in the pan until the leaves are wilted, or approx 2-3 minutes. Add in pasta and salt, tossing in the pan for 1-2 minutes with the sausage and broccoli. Serve immediately.
* If you can't find bulk, just remove it from the casings. This will require more crumbling than a bulk sausage when cooking.
* Add more red pepper flakes to your heat tolerance. Or serve with sambal olek, if you want even more spice.