One of my favorite dishes is orecchiette (little ears) pasta in a broth with garlic, hot sausage, and broccoli rabe. It’s Italian-American comfort food I first encountered in college. I’m happy to say my experiment doing it vegetarian/vegan was a success! This is a dish I’ve never known anyone to dislike.
A bitter green brassica-type vegetable is a requirement. Don’t substitute something mild like plain broccoli; it won’t work.
Any time you see a dairy product, just substitute your vegan version if you like. I did the first batch all vegan except that I added parmesan at the end. The vegan stuff was delicious all by itself, though.
2 links Field Roast brand vegan sausage. The chorizo works great, but so does the milder stuff. This fake meat is good and chewy
4 good-sized cloves garlic, minced
1 head broccoli rabe chopped into bite-sized pieces ~or~ same amount of chopped kale, fresh or frozen
3 cups veggie broth (reconstituted from powder, canned, or from your freezer bin of vegetable stock odds and ends)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
Olive oil for sauteeing/dressing
Cooked pasta—the classic shape is orecchiette. Farfalle (bow ties) and penne rigate work, too.
Chop Field Roast sausage to desired texture. . .sorta like ground sausage. Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add sausage and brown to a crisp, stirring as necessary. Add 1/2 cup broth, scrape pan, then add in minced garlic and crushed red pepper. Reduce for about a minute.
Add greens and remaining veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a medium simmer, and stir. Cover and cook for three-five minutes. Remove cover, taste broth, and adjust seasonings. It may want a squeeze of lemon juice and a glug of olive oil.
Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente and no softer. Drain, put back in pan. Add broth/veggie/sausage mixture to pasta and heat through quickly, stirring. It’s best to do this in portions, rather than putting all the sauce on all the pasta at once. That makes for soggy leftovers.
Taste and give final garnish of olive oil or salt if necessary. Vegetarians add parm/romano. Vegans add nootch and hot sauce.