makes 6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 sweet or hot Italian sausage links, casings removed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large bunch, about 1 1/4 pounds, broccoli rabe

1/2 cup fat free chicken broth or water

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 pound uncooked rigatoni, whole wheat or multi grain is good with this too

grated parmesan cheese, optional

 

coat inside of crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.

heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  add sausage; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes, stirring to break up meat.  drain fat.  add garlic; cook and stir 1 minutes or until softened and fragrant.  remove to crockpot.

trim any stiff, woody parts from bottoms of broccoli rabe stems; discard.  cut broccoli rabe into 1 inch lengths.  place in a large bowl of cold water; stir with hands to wash well.  lift broccoli rabe out of water by handfuls leaving any sand or dirt in bottom of bowl.  shake well to remove excess water, but do ot dry.  add to crockpot with sausage.  add broth, salt and red pepper flakes .  cover; cook on LOW 4 hours or on HIGH 2 hours.

meanwhile, cook rigatoni according to package directions.  stir into sausage mixture just before serving.  garnish with cheese if desired.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE...  THIS RECIPE CAN BE DONE ON THE STOVE TOP INSTEAD OF THE CROCKPOT.  JUST DO EVERYTHING IN A LARGE SKILLET UNTIL EVERYTHING IS TENDER AND TASTES TO YOUR LIKING.   THEN MIX WITH THE RIGATONI...  JUST SOMETIMES EASIER TO DO IT ON THE STOVE TOP INSTEAD OF THE CROCKPOT...