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Winging It

Another tough week of getting my act together for cooking. I haven’t been particularly organized about planning meals or shopping. I stopped at the store last night, but only picked up depleted staples: yogurt, grapefruit juice, breakfast cheese. This morning, I realized we really didn’t have anything for dinner.

The weather this evening was supposed to be balmy, so Howard said he’d grill. This morning, he pulled some Chestnut Farms’ sweet Italian sausage from the freezer and left it in the fridge to defrost.

Now, what to have with grilled sausage? I wasn’t I the mood for pasta, so I pored over a pile of cookbooks to find some inspiration. I didn’t find an exact recipe that appealed, but I found a few different ones with elements that did. From those ideas, I came up with my own concoction.

I had to stop at Wilson Farm on the way home from work to pick up some broccoli rabe, but everything else I needed was in the pantry. The result was a warm mess of spicy bitter greens with tomatoes and white beans. I topped each serving with a link of grilled sausage. It was nearly perfect. Next time, I think I’d slice the grilled sausage and just toss it into the greens. The flavors went well together, and it was a successful dinner!

Braised Broccoli Rabe with Tomatoes and White Beans
Serves 2-3

1 lb broccoli rabe
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) diced Italian tomatoes with juice
1 can (15 oz) cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed well
½ tsp red pepper flakes

Remove the very ends of the broccoli rabe (¼ inch or less). Slice the stems and leaves into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Rinse well. There is no need to dry the greens. The clinging water will cook off while braising.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, but don’t let it brown. Add the broccoli rabe and stir to combine with garlic. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, and pepper flakes. Cover, and cook until the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. (Personally, I thought the canned tomatoes and beans added more than enough salt, and I didn’t add more.)

If desired, serve topped with grilled sweet Italian sausage.