- 2 pounds Italian hot or sweet sausages
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for liberal drizzling
- 1 large head broccoli rabe
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, 4 thinly sliced or chopped, 1 halved
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme (several sprigs), finely chopped
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, split and halved
Pre-heat an outdoor grill. In a medium skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add the sausages and parboil on the grill or over medium heat to heat through, 6-8 minutes. Drizzle with a little EVOO, place on the grill and crisp the casings, 5-6 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim the rabes up, bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the rabes and cook for 5 minutes. While the broccoli rabe is working, in a skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and crushed red pepper. Drain the rabes and add to the garlic oil, turn to coat and turn off the heat. Season the broccoli rabe with sea salt and a little nutmeg and transfer to the grill to char the edges, about 2 minutes on each side.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, milk, a liberal drizzle of EVOO, thyme, sea salt and black pepper. (They serve a ricotta mixture like this at one of my favorite restaurants, Locanda Verde in NYC. As is, it's a delicious appetizer served with bread!)
Char the bread on the grill. Rub with the halved garlic, drizzle with EVOO and slather with the ricotta mixture. Serve with the sausages and broccoli rabe. Wow! Sooooooo good!