Baked Pasta with Brocolli Rabe and Sausage
This delicious recipe comes to me courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. I added a few spices I like (courtesy of John and Autumn), and the results is a wonderful (and healthier!) version of one of my favorite comfort foods, mac 'n' cheese.
1 lb chunky pasta
1 bundle brocolli rabe (also called rapini), chopped into 1" pieces
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
6 oz mozzarella, cut into small cubes
2 cups full fat milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
St. Lucifer's spice
Preheat over to 400°.
Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish.
1. Bring water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed until just about al dente. Five minutes before pasta is done, add brocolli rabe to pot. Drain together into a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up into pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage starts to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to the pasta holding bowl. Leave rendered fat in pan.
3. Add the butter to the pan and let melt. Add the flour and stir to form a smooth paste. Cook for a minute, stirring. Slowly add a bit of milk at a time, stirring to incorporate each drizzle, until all the milk is added. Add the salt, black pepper, garlic, nutmeg and St Lucifer's (to taste). Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the sauce, mozzarella and half of the parmesan to the bowl with the pasta and the sausage. Mix until combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with remaining parmesan (I like to put extra parmesan on top). Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the edges and top are crispy and nicely browned.