If you haven’t been in Maine this week, you are missing out on magic. Whatever the cause, it has been undeniably wonderful to be warm all the through, to hear birds chirp, to watch grass turn green and trees bud and shoots come up from the earth, almost overnight. At least, that’s how it looks from here. We’ve been out working on the farm, pulling up dead leaves, making room for new things to grow. We’ve built a fire at night and looked up at the stars. We brought the baby outside to squint in the sunlight and meet the goats. We’re eating outside on the patio. In this dish, the creamy ricotta cools the heat of the sausage and the broccoli rabe falls somewhere between healthy and heavy – in short, a perfect dinner for this very early spring.
Broccoli Rabe, Spicy Sausage, and Ricotta on Garlic-Rubbed Bread
- 2 links spicy Italian sausage
- 1 head broccoli rabe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, 2 thinly sliced, 1 halved
- Red pepper flakes
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Toasted slices of crusty bread
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Squeeze of lemon
In a large pot of salted, boiling water, blanch broccoli rabe, about five minutes, then drain in a colander. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, cook the sausages in a little olive oil and remove them to a plate. Add a little more olive oil to the same pan over medium heat, and infuse with sliced garlic cloves and red pepper flakes. Add broccoli rabe to the infused oil and saute very quickly, about a minute.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta and milk, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle in a little olive oil.
Slice bread, and rub with halved garlic clove, then spread with ricotta mixture. Squeeze lemon over the broccoli rabe and garnish the ricotta slathered bread with parsley.