La Vera Cucina

Salsiccia e Rapini

For more than thirty years, the Spadafora family has been satisfying Hamilton, ON, locals with flavorful Italian specialties including handmade Italian pastries and desserts at Valentino’s Ristorante. Here, Silvio Spadafora shares a favorite family recipe for Salsiccia e Rapini (Sausage and Rapini), which has earned a strong following among their loyal guests as well!


  • 5 large stalks of fresh rapini
  • 4 ounces spicy Italian sausage links
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic (crushed)
  • 8 ounces freshly cooked fettuccine pasta
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Italian parsley (to taste)


Wash and trim rapini. Briefly blanch in boiling water; set aside. Heat sausage links in skillet over medium flame until cooked through. Remove from heat. Slice into ¼-inch thick disks; set aside.

Heat extra virgin olive oil over medium flame; add crushed garlic. Heat until garlic begins to change color. Add blanched rapini; cook for approximately one minute. Add sliced sausage and stir thoroughly. Add in pasta and toss until rapini and sausage are evenly distributed throughout. Sprinkle pasta with red pepper flakes, plate, and garnish with Italian parsley.

Alternative: Replace sliced, cooked sausage with an equal amount of chopped, thinly sliced prosciutto. Add to sautéed rapini at the same time as the pasta. Toss until rapini and prosciutto are evenly distributed. Sprinkle pasta with red pepper flakes, plate, and garnish with Italian parsley.


Rapini (Rah-pee-nee)

Also called “rape” or “rabe” (rob) in various Italian dialects, rapini is a slightly bitter wild mustard green especially enjoyed in Southern Italy. As Tom Cortopassi learned from produce pioneers Stefano and Andrea D’Arrigo (Andy Boy Brand), the brothers first introduced rapini into American produce markets in the 1960s after renaming it a more flattering “broccoli rabe,” based on its similar appearance to broccoli!