Pasta al Forno with Chicken Sausage and Rapini

Total Time:
1 hr 15 min
15 min
10 min
50 min

6 servings

  • 12 ounces radiatore pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 4 cups packed sliced rapini (broccoli rabe) greens
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus more if needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • Chopped fresh basil, for garnish
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, bring back to a boil and cook until very very al dente, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  • Heat a large (12- to 14-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sausage, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon into smaller chunks. Cook, without moving the sausage, until golden brown on the bottom but still pink on the top, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the rapini and mushrooms, toss together and cook until the mushrooms are slightly brown and the rapini has wilted, another 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 20 seconds. Immediately turn the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

  • Lower the heat to medium, add the butter and cook until bubbly and melted. Add the flour while whisking to break up clumps. Cook until slightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. While whisking, slowly add the milk. Add the Pecorino Romano, nutmeg and some salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the mixture starts to thicken slightly, about 3 minutes.

  • Off the heat, add the pasta and sausage/rapini mixture and stir to coat. Season to taste, adding more Pecorino Romano if desired. Once completely cool, add a layer of the mozzarella, then sprinkle on the sun-dried tomatoes. Can be made 1 day ahead.

  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Bake until bubbly and the cheese is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with torn fresh basil.

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