Broccoli rabe (also known as broccolini or rapini) is an absolute treat out of the early summer garden. I came up with this recipe a few months ago when we were harvesting it like crazy. It is an attempt to make something of a vegetarian Carbonara that incorporates our bounty of broccoli rabe, as well as a couple vegan sausages we had to use up.
This does call for a specialty gadget: a rasp grater or Microplane. Don't be a loser and buy pre-grated parmesan cheese or cut a corner and try to grate this with something else. Take the $16 hit and buy one of these if you don't already have one. It makes an incredible tool for citrus zests, hard cheeses, chocolate, and frozen garlic for a variety of applications. I'm seriously watching you. DO NOT disappoint me the way you have already done with your parents!
Prep time: 2 cocktails
12 ounces bow tie (frfalle) or penne pasta
2 high-quality spicy Italian vegetarian sausages (like Beyond brand)
1-2 TBSP high-temperature cooking oil, like canola or avacado
2 grocery store bunches-worth of broccoli rabe, each piece cut into 2-3 more edible sizes
10 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
4 eggs -- 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks only whisked in a small bowl
1 cup of fresh grated Parmesan with a microplane (I'm still watching you), plus extra for serving
Salt and pepper
Minced parsley and red chili flakes for garnish
Prepare pasta and rinse and set aside. Cook sausage in stovetop over medium heat until nicely browned. Remove and cut into 1/2" thick wheels.
Put oil into a frying pan over high heat. Once your pan gets very hot, add the broccoli rabe. The point here is to basically blacken parts of it, so make sure your pan is hot before adding. Fry it a few minutes until your desired amount of char is achieved, then turn off heat and stir in garlic. Saute another minute or until the garlic turns a bit golden but not browned or burned, then squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli rabe and stir one last time. Transfer broccoli rabe and garlic to a plate.
In a medium or large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the cooked and drained pasta over medium heat until it is nice and ward. Toss in a tiny dash of olive oil if it is sticking badly. Once pasta is nice and hot, add the egg and Parmesan, plus a lot of salt and pepper to taste. The goal is to have the egg cook just enough to have a creamy sauce-like consistency that sticks to the pasta but has a nice velvety texture and isn't fully cooked. This usually only takes a minute--maybe less. Once you're about at this point stir in broccoli rabe and remove from heat. Serve right away with additional parmesan, parsley, and chili flakes on top.