Pasta with Quick Sausage Ragu and Broccoli Rabe

Coming together in less than an hour, this flavor-packed dish will become a weeknight staple.

By Rhoda Boone, Culinary Director
Nov 10, 2022
pasta with sausage ragu
45 Minutes
4 - 6 Servings

Weeknight pasta dinners often sacrifice taste for convenience, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  This  flavor-packed yet surprisingly simple quick ragu, courtesy of our Culinary Creative Director Rhoda Boone, calls for fresh Italian sausage, but can easily be substituted for plant-based chorizo and made vegetarian or vegan.

The addition of broccoli rabe brings dimension and brightness to a meat-heavy dish, and blanching it alongside the pasta helps to tame some of its bitterness. Even though they are not technically the same and will add a different flavor profile, you can swap the rabe for broccolini or broccoli florets.

Pasta with Quick Sausage Ragu and Broccoli Rabe

Coming together in less than an hour, this flavor-packed dish will become a weeknight staple.

Rhoda Boone, Culinary Director

45 Minutes
4 - 6 Servings
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 pound fresh sweet or hot Italian sausage (or plant-based chorizo), either bulk or removed from casings
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand in a bowl
  • 1 small parmesan rind, optional
  • 1 pound short pasta such as orecchiette, penne, or rigatoni
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 12 ounces), cut into 2”-long segments (or substitute 12 ounces broccolini or broccoli florets)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped basil, for serving
  • Parmesan, finely grated, for serving, optional

    Bring water to a boil in an 8-QT Stockpot fitted with a Pasta Insert.


    Heat a Dutch Oven over medium-high. Add oil, and once hot, add onion, carrot, celery, ½ tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Saute until soft, 6–8 minutes.


    Add the sausage, ½ tsp. salt, and a few more grinds of pepper and cook, stirring often and breaking apart the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon, until cooked through and beginning to brown, 7–10 minutes.


    Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until brick red in color, about 1 minute.


    Add the wine, bring to a boil for 1 minute, and deglaze by scraping up the brown bits from the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced until almost dry, about 2 minutes more.


    Stir in canned tomatoes and cheese rind, if using. Reduce heat to medium and simmer gently for 10–15 minutes.


    While sauce is cooking, generously salt the boiling water and cook pasta according to package directions. Four minutes before the al dente point, reserve 1 cup pasta water, then add broccoli rabe to the boiling water. Check the rabe to make sure the stems are soft and drain the pasta along with the broccoli rabe 1 minute before the al dente point.


    Remove and discard the Parmesan rind from the sauce. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Add the pasta and broccoli rabe to the sauce and stir to combine.


    Add ½ cup pasta water and toss well to coat, adding more pasta water as needed to lightly coat the pasta in sauce. Simmer until well-incorporated, 1–2 minutes. Taste again and adjust seasoning if necessary.


    Plate pasta in an Entrée Bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil, basil, and Parmesan, if using.