A big part of cooking is exploring new ingredients, such as rapini and radicchio. Radicchio is a deep red colored leaf that’s often found in spring mix and adds a nice color and pop of texture to this pasta dish. Rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, is the leafy Italian version of broccoli. Full of immune boosting vitamins A, C and K, as well as a recovery-enhancing combo of potassium, calcium and iron, rapini is a great addition to this truly satisfying turkey sausage penne.
12-14 ounce package penne pasta*
16-20 ounces spicy Italian turkey sausage
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1- 14 ounce can stewed Italian tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
1/3 balsamic vinegar
1 head rapini, washed and thick stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
* Any shape of pasta may be substituted. Customize this dish with your favorite type of pasta (i.e. brown rice, whole wheat, etc.).
1. Fill a large pot with water and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Try to time to the pasta so it is done when the sauce recipe below is done. Drain the pasta and immediately add to the sauce.
2. In the meantime, in an extra large and deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the rapini, salt and pepper to the pan and sauté in the garlic 2-3 minutes until the rapini is wilted. Remove from the pan and reserve in a bowl.
3. Remove the turkey sausage from the casings and add to the same pan. Cook until browned, breaking apart the sausage with a wooden spoon. Add the fennel seeds and let cook another 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the stewed tomatoes, wine and balsamic vinegar to the pan. Break the tomatoes apart with a wooden spoon. Let simmer, so the liquids are slightly bubbling for about 8-10 minutes. Add the reserved rapini to this mixture.
5. Turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta and fresh radicchio to the sauce. Toss until well combined. Let sit 5 minutes before serving, allowing the pasta to soak up the sauce.
Serving Recommendation: Grate fresh pecorino-romano or parmesan- reggiano over the top and sprinkle with freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.
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