Lunchbreak: Lidia Bastianich’s rigatoni pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage

Lidia Bastianich

Her new memoir, My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food


  • Lidia Day at Eataly Chicago (43 E. Ohio) – Saturday, April 21st
    • 2:00pm – 4:00pm: Ticketed cooking class with Lidia – sold out!
    • 4:30pm – 6:00pm: Book signing with Lidia - still room!
    • Today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday), special dishes envisioned by Lidia herself will be available in each restaurant of Eataly Chicago.
  • A few spots may be available to enjoy dinner tonight (Friday) with Lidia tonight at Ristorante Toscano at Eataly Chicago. More information at


Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe
Rigatoni con Cime di Rapa
Serves 6

Kosher salt
2 pounds broccoli rabe
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
3 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Chicken Stock, plus more as needed
2 pounds of Lidia's Rigatoni
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cut off and discard the tough lower part of the broccoli rabe stems, leaving the broccoli about 8 inches long. Remove the large tough leaves, leaving just the tender leaves and flower buds. Peel the thick, lower part of the stems by lifting strips from the stem end with a paring knife or vegetable peeler and drawing them up toward the bud area. A perfect peel is not necessary, but removing the peel does remove bitterness. Cut into 2-inch lengths. Wash the broccoli thoroughly and dry it well, preferably in a salad spinner.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage meat, and cook until the sausage is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the crushed garlic, and cook until the sausage is lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add about half the broccoli rabe to the pan, and toss it until it begins to wilt. Add more of the broccoli as that in the pan begins to wilt. When all the broccoli rabe has been added, cover the pan and steam the broccoli until wilted and bright green, about 4 minutes. Taste, and season lightly with salt and the red pepper flakes. Stir in the butter until it is melted, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Boil gently, uncovered for several minutes more, to reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavor. Remove the garlic.

Meanwhile, add the rigatoni to the pasta water. When the pasta is al dente and the sauce is ready, transfer the pasta to the sauce with a spider. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding a splash of water if it seems dry. Remove the skillet from the heat, and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Toss well, and serve.