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Pasta with Sausage, Cauliflower and Rapini

Pasta with Sausage, Cauliflower and Rapini

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Roast cauliflower: Remove core from cauliflower (reserve it for soup or stock, if you wish). Pull florets apart and slice. Place in the same large bowl you’ll use later to toss the pasta. Drizzle with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper then toss and spill out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to oven and roast for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Prepare sauté: While the cauliflower is roasting, chop the onion, fennel, garlic and rapini. Place large skillet on stove set to moderate-high heat. Remove sausage meat from casing and sprinkle into skillet. Stir while it cooks, breaking it up into tiny morsels. Cook until meat is browned. Add onion, fennel, garlic and chili flakes and toss to combine. Cook vegetables until soft and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add rapini into skillet, cover and turn stovetop off, leaving the skillet on the element.
  4. Cook the pasta: 10 minutes before cauliflower is done, pour water into a large pasta pot, add salt and stir to dissolve. Bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to package directions or until al dente. Before straining the cooked pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  5. Assemble: Remove cauliflower from oven and immediately return it to the large mixing bowl. Add the contents from the skillet to the same bowl. Strain the pasta and add it to the bowl. Stir everything together. Sprinkle with Parmesan and stir again. Try the pasta then season with salt and pepper to taste. If you enjoy a softer, creamier pasta, add a little of the reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time to achieve desired consistency. Sprinkle the top with the reserve fennel fronds, more Parmesan and a chili flakes if desired. Serve immediately.
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Pasta with Sausage, Cauliflower and Rapini

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Oven-roasted cauliflower tossed with pasta and a quick sauté of sausage, onion, garlic, fennel and rapini…

  • clock icon
    30 MIN
  • 6 SERVINGS
pasta with sausage, cauliflower and rapini

Ready in less than 30 minutes, this PASTA WITH SAUSAGE, CAULIFLOWER AND RAPINI is a fabulous weeknight dinner idea.

Make sure to watch the VIDEO attached to this story for my real-time guide on making it. Why does it look so easy? Because it is – I make it for myself at least once every couple of weeks. One final push for me to get you to try this; the leftovers make a nice take-to-work or send-to-school option. It might even be yummier the next day!

As with all our recipes, a friendly reminder to look for and use freshly grown, locally sourced organic ingredients whenever you can; we find they always add to the overall flavour of the dish. Second reminder is to SHARE this recipe with friends. PIN it to a favourite PASTA board or bookmark this page. Make it once and you’ll be making it again and again, promise!

Here are some thoughts on making my favourite PASTA WITH SAUSAGE, CAULIFLOWER AND RAPINI:

The ingredients for pasta with sausage, cauliflower and rapini

INGREDIENTS

After taking the above photo, I thought, that’s it? Yup, that’s it. You need pasta, sausages, a few flavourful veggies and a tiny bit of seasoning. That said, I better come clean and explain that this dish evolved a few months ago by accident. I needed a quick meal, grabbed whatever I had on hand and ta-da, instant “Wow! Is this ever good!” Yet another example of how the right combination of flavour-forward ingredients can make something decidedly delicious.

A selection of varieties of dried pasta

PASTA PICK

I want you to experience this recipe as I did; making it the first time with a pasta you simply have on hand, the only caveat being to use a short pasta. There is a wide variety of shapes that the meat, veggies and cheese used in this recipe love clinging to. Regular, brown rice, gluten-free pasta and egg noodles all work too, simply pick your favourite shape and cook to package directions. Reminder – salt your pasta water with my suggested ratio of a tablespoon of kosher or sea salt for every pound of pasta.

Spicy sausage meat sauteed for the pasta dish

SAUSAGE

Again, I’m going to let you make this dish using your favourite sausage, although I do think one with a little kick of heat works best. I’ve had great success with chorizo and hot Italian sausage and (telling you like it is) was a bit underwhelmed with the more standard grocery store “breakfast sausage” blend. Make sure to remove the meat from the sausage casings and then stay close tho stovetop as it cooks away in the hot skillet. Stir it often while it cooks to break it up into tiny bites of tastiness.

A mirepoix of fennel, onion and garlic

MIREPOIX

I recently posted our MULLIGATAWNY SOUP RECIPE (amazing, right?) where I used a classic mirepoix consisting of onion, celery and carrot to build a flavour profile. To make this pasta dish different, I used finely diced white onion, garlic and fennel. I know it’s a departure, but my goodness, it really is fantastic.

A head of cauliflower ready to be roasted

CAULIFLOWER

I’m hoping everyone has enjoyed the flavour of oven-roasted cauliflower. Cutting the florets up into bite-sized pieces and tossing them with a bit of oil and seasoning is really simple. What gets me though is the heavenly, nutty flavour that happens when cauliflower is cooked this way. Using it this in this recipe is a bit of a pasta game-changer.

Fresh rapini also known as broccoli rabe

RAPINI

Also called BROCCOLI RABE, rapini is a cruciferous vegetable known for its bright green colour and slightly bitter taste. Click HERE to learn more about it or try our other RAPINI WITH GARLIC AND PARMESAN recipe. For this recipe, it gets a rinse, chop and then a wilt in the pan along with the cooked sausage. This unusual way of preparing rapini leaves it slightly crunchy but when tossed together with everything else, it still gives the dish its signature fresh flavour.

The sauteed ingredients, pasta and oven-roasted cauliflower ready to be tossed together in a large bowl

TOSS IT UP

The direction to spill the cauliflower, cooked sausage and rapini, pasta and Parmesan into a big bowl and toss it up is this recipe’s ah-ha moment. Unlike our stirred-in-the-pot CARBONARA or our tossed-in-the-skillet BOW TIES WITH TUNA, this dish gives a whole new meaning to easy. It’s meant to be casual, so feel free to serve the pasta straight from the bowl too.

ENJOY!

This is one of those meals that loves being paired with a nice glass of wine and presented with extra Parmesan and chili flakes, in case someone likes a bit more cheese or heat. Beyond that, you’ll need little more than a big smile of satisfaction on your face. When an exceedingly flavourful meal is on the table in under 30 minutes, I’m smiling too. Let’s eat!

pasta with sausage, cauliflower and rapini

PASTA WITH SAUSAGE, CAULIFLOWER AND RAPINI is the best!

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Pasta with Sausage, Cauliflower and Rapini

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Pasta with Sausage, Cauliflower and Rapini

Ingredients

  • For the cauliflower:
  • 1 head of cauliflower, florets, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle kosher salt
  • sprinkle black pepper
  • For the sauté:
  • 4 sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  • ½ fennel head, finely diced, fronds chopped for garnish
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 bunch rapini, washed and chopped
  • For the pasta:
  • 4 cups dried pasta
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 12 cups water
  • To serve:
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more at table
  • chopped fennel fronds, see above
  • sprinkle kosher salt
  • sprinkle black pepper
  • sprinkle chili flakes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Roast cauliflower: Remove core from cauliflower (reserve it for soup or stock, if you wish). Pull florets apart and slice. Place in the same large bowl you’ll use later to toss the pasta. Drizzle with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper then toss and spill out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to oven and roast for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Prepare sauté: While the cauliflower is roasting, chop the onion, fennel, garlic and rapini. Place large skillet on stove set to moderate-high heat. Remove sausage meat from casing and sprinkle into skillet. Stir while it cooks, breaking it up into tiny morsels. Cook until meat is browned. Add onion, fennel, garlic and chili flakes and toss to combine. Cook vegetables until soft and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add rapini into skillet, cover and turn stovetop off, leaving the skillet on the element.
  4. Cook the pasta: 10 minutes before cauliflower is done, pour water into a large pasta pot, add salt and stir to dissolve. Bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to package directions or until al dente. Before straining the cooked pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  5. Assemble: Remove cauliflower from oven and immediately return it to the large mixing bowl. Add the contents from the skillet to the same bowl. Strain the pasta and add it to the bowl. Stir everything together. Sprinkle with Parmesan and stir again. Try the pasta then season with salt and pepper to taste. If you enjoy a softer, creamier pasta, add a little of the reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time to achieve desired consistency. Sprinkle the top with the reserve fennel fronds, more Parmesan and a chili flakes if desired. Serve immediately.

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