Monday, October 20, 2014

Sautéed Sausage with Grapes and Broccoli Rabe

Thursday was a really big day for me. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work to "pick up a couple things" and managed to throw together a menu on the fly and buy food for the entire week. THE ENTIRE WEEK! I realize this accomplishment is leaving some of you unimpressed. But for this Type-A-Black-and-White-Rule-Following-Plan-Aheader, it was a miracle and it left me giddy for days.

To be clear, I had a strong motivator. It was a crazy week with my in-laws out of town and a jam-packed schedule for us and the munchkins. Then life froze and we all held our breath for 24 hours when we learned that my newborn nephew was being admitted to Children's Hospital. I wanted so desperately to drop everything and be there but I felt so helpless. My offer of "assistance" these days comes with three other smaller pairs of hands (and mouths!) that usually add more chaos and noise than calm. So I expressed my desire and willingness to do everything I could think of and then prayed and sat tight.

Praise God, my nephew was released home from the hospital the following day and there was much celebration as we all breathed a huge sigh of relief. This brings us to Thursday and my blog-worthy grocery shopping accomplishment. So, there might have been just a wee miscommunication between my brother-in-law and I when I got the call that they were being discharged. I think I was shrieking with excitement when I heard the news so it's understandable. He might have told me that they were coming to our place for dinner that night to kill time until my nephew's prescription was ready to be picked up back at Children's. What I heard? They were coming here straight from the hospital to live with us for 10 days until my in-laws returned. Same difference.

And so I grocery shopped. A little bit like a crazy person.  I'm laughing now because, though we would have been totally willing and thrilled to care for my dear brother-and-sister-in-law in this way, it would be so uncharacteristic of them (and most people, really...) to spontaneously decide to stay for a week and a half. But, the good news? We now have a full fridge and plenty of food for the spur-of-the-moment guest or two (or twelve!) who might pop in between now and Friday.

So how does this all relate to Sautéed Sausage with Grapes and Broccoli Rabe? Ah, yes, let me tell you. It's amazing, as one who is constantly trying new recipes, that when posed with the challenge of coming up with 7 meals on the fly, I can draw a complete blank. This is what happened when I pulled into the Fred Meyer parking lot on Thursday afternoon. I couldn't literally think of nothing to cook. After spending about 5 paralyzed minutes in the driver's seat, I decided aww, screw it and made a bee line for the door, hoping it would just come to me. People have always tried to tell me this but the planner in me claims it won't work and I've always resisted: sometimes individual ingredients really do inspire main dishes.

Case in point: broccoli rabe.
I've been making this dish for nearly 2 1/2 years now and would you believe that this is only the second time I've ever been able to find broccoli rabe? That would be why this recipe took center stage on my weekly menu when I saw this bunch of green stuff at my ghetto *cough* I mean local Fred Meyer of all places. I have searched far and wide for broccoli rabe after discovering it at a produce stand years back. Alas, it is truly hard to come by (at least where I live) and so I've settled upon broccolini (or baby broccoli which you can find at both Trader Joe's and Costco) as a solid substitute.

Now that I have you all scary that you won't even be able to find the ingredients needed for this recipe, do not fear! It truly is delicious with broccolini too. When substituting, use 2 bunches of broccolini and par boil them whole in a large pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes instead of 1 1/2 minutes stated in the recipe. Drain and rinse with cold water and then coarsely chop. Also, though my picture (and the original recipe) would tell you otherwise, I recommend red grapes over green for their sweetness. Broccoli rabe has a slight bitterness to it that requires the sweetness of the grapes and the saltiness of the shaved parmesan to achieve a perfect balance. On that note, be sure to shave, not grate the parmesan cheese to get a good salty punch. Oh and if you're not a fan of bitter things, I'm willing to bet the sweeter broccolini will be right up your alley. 

Sautéed Sausage and Grapes with Broccoli Rabe
(adapted from Cooking Light Magazine)

1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 (4-ounce) links spicy Italian pork sausage, casings removed
6 cups red grapes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup white wine 
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 3/4 cup)

Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water 1 1/2 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well. Place in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage; cook for 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add grapes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook for 2 minutes or until grapes begin to soften. Add sausage mixture to broccoli rabe.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 2 minutes or until soft. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add wine; cook 2-4 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, sausage mixture, and vinegar. Toss to combine; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cheese; serve immediately.

Serves 6

1 comment:

  1. I literally laughed out loud at this post. And this looks delicious! Going to have to give it a go.


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