Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli Rabe with Shells

Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

Delicious and convenient, this baked-pasta dish is an irresistible all-in-one dinner. You can substitute a mild sausage, such as sweet Italian, for the spicy variety. If you can't find broccoli rabe, use regular broccoli and increase boiling time to 1 minute.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 3 sprigs thyme

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 3 links spicy Italian sausage (¾ pound total), casings removed

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes

  • 8 ounces medium shell pasta

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and coarsely chopped

  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into ½-inch pieces

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).

  2. Add garlic and sausage. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with spoon. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions. Add broccoli rabe to pot and cook 15 seconds. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot. Stir in sausage mixture. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish or divide among four 16-ounce gratin dishes. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until cheese has melted and liquid is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

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