Friday, June 23, 2017
Light, crunchy and slightly sweet with the addition of honey and dried cranberries in the broth as the quinoa cooks, this colourful Moroccan Quinoa Salad is the perfect side dish for a hot summer lunch or outdoor dinner. Tossed with a medley of diced vegetables, dried fruits, fresh herbs and exotic mixture of fragrant spices, the salad is entirely gluten-free for a low carb contribution to a healthy and delicious summer meal.
Moroccan Quinoa Salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in cold water
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup each finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup seeded and diced English cucumber
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Combine the quinoa, chicken broth, raisins, curry, cumin, coriander, honey and salt in a medium pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid. Remove from the heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and allow to cool completely. After the quinoa has cooled, combine with all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Creamy avocado and fresh cucumber partner exquisitely in this refreshing Chilled Avocado and Cucumber Soup, perfect as an elegant first course or light summer lunch on a hot afternoon. Low in carbs and high in savoury and sensory appeal, this delicious soup can be prepared well in advance and simply chilled until it's ready to be served. Just purée all of the ingredients together in a blender or food processor with a dollop of crème fraîche and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and enjoy this tasty tribute to summer's abundant produce. Splurge with a garnish of cooked lobster, flaky crabmeat, or perhaps one or two large sautéed prawns, along with some chopped tomato, avocado and a shot of tabasco. Rich and creamy, this soup is best enjoyed in smaller portions, such as small bowls or shot glasses with a colourful array of festive garnishes to celebrate the season.
Chilled Avocado & Cucumber Soup with Crab
2 english cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 medium avocado, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt, to taste
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 can cooked crabmeat
Fresh ground white or black pepper
Place all the ingredients together in a blender and process until smooth. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours. To serve, pour the soup in decorative glasses or bowls, and garnish with chopped tomato, avocado, and flaked crabmeat with a grind a little fresh ground pepper to finish.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Lavraki is a Mediterranean sea bass, indigenous to the shores of Greece, and is considered a prized fish in Europe. In France, they are called Loup or Bar, the Spanish call them Robalo, and in Italy they are known as Spigola or, more commonly, as Bronzino. In Greece, Lavraki are a near mythical fish, ever elusive. In fact, when Greek journalists stumble upon a great story — snag that rare exclusive scoop — they call it a Lavraki. Stuffed with fresh herbs, lemon and sliced ginger this recipe for Whole Grilled Lavraki is easy to prepare and makes a gorgeous main dish, especially on a hot summer evening under the stars.
Whole Grilled Lavraki
2 medium Lavraki, at room temperature - cleaned and scaled by your fishmonger
1/4 cup olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
1 handful fresh mint and lemon thyme
1/2-inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
2 lemons, one finely sliced and the other cut in half for grilling
Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Light an outdoor grill or barbecue to high heat. Season the inside of the lavraki with salt and a few grindings of black pepper, and rub the outside with the olive oil and season well with kosher salt which will help ensure a wonderful crispy skin. Stuff with lemon slices, sliced ginger and sprigs of fresh mint and lemon thyme. Place the lavraki and lemon halves on a foil lined baking sheet for easy transport to the barbecue.
Grill the fish over high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp and just cooked through, about 7 minutes per side, adding the lemon halves cut side down for the last 3-4 minutes. Serve the lavraki straight away, and garnish with the grilled lemon wedges for squeezing overtop of the fish.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Ideally suited for summer grilling, Rack of Lamb is one of my favourite cuts of meat, and when sliced into single or double chops and marinated in a fragrant elixir of garlic, fresh mint and rosemary, the flavours are positively intoxicating. Blended together in a food processor, and loosened with a little olive oil to produce a smooth paste, the marinade is simply massaged into the lamb chops and then abandoned to works it's magic for an hour or so. Grilled with a medley of mixed vegetables in a non-stick grill basket, they can be cooked beside one another then served as a sensational summer salad. Any combination of vegetables will do, but I love the colour and flavour of broccoli, red pepper, mushrooms and baby red onions garnished with a little feta once served. Easy, healthy and delicious, Grilled Lamb Chops with Wok-Grilled Vegetables make a fabulous summer meal when it's just too hot to do anything else.
New Zealand Rack of Lamb cut into individual chops and marinated with garlic, olive oil,
fresh rosemary and mint
Grilled Lamb & Mixed Vegetables with Arugula, Mint and Greek Feta
1 rack of lamb, cut into single chops
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, pulled off the stem
2 tbsp fresh mint, plus an extra handful for garnish
3 tbsp olive oil
Maldon salt and fresh ground pepper
6 cups wild baby arugula
BBQ Wok-Grilled Vegetables with Feta:
1/4 head of broccoli, cut into small bite size pieces
4 large cremini mushrooms, cleaned and halved
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large shallot, skinned and quartered
3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 3-inch long pieces
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
2 oz Greek feta
Add the garlic and fresh herbs to a small food processor and blend to emulsify, then add the olive oil and blitz again until the marinade becomes a smooth paste. Pour the marinade into a shallow glass baking dish, then add the lamb chops and toss thoroughly to ensure all of the meat is well coated with the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.
Return the lamb chops to room temperature before grilling. Meanwhile, place all of the chopped vegetables in large bowl and just before they are to be cooked, toss with a little olive oil and oregano, then set aside.
Preheat the BBQ to high heat. When hot, pour the vegetables into a non-stick grilling basket and place on the grill. Cook while tossing the vegetables frequently for about 10-12 minutes, or until the vegetables are just done. To serve, spoon the grilled vegetables back into the bowl and then set aside and season the lamb chops with salt and pepper. Grill the chops for 3 minutes per side for medium. To serve, lay the arugula on a large platter then spoon the grilled vegetables over top, then arrange the lamb chops on top and garnish with the feta cheese and the remaining whole mint. Season with a little Maldon salt and serve.
Monday, June 19, 2017
A cozy Italian trattoria with comfortable neighbourhood charm, Parmigiano serves Northern and Southern Italian inspired cuisine, using local ingredients and property-grown organic herbs and vegetables. Chef Kunman's menu features the usual Italian suspects such as Bruschetta, Caprese Salad and Grilled Calamari, a selection of over 20 pastas and risottos including Baked Manicotti, Spaghetti Bolognese, Gnocchi Toscana, Tortellini Quattro Formaggio and Risotto con Funghi, as well as their ever popular pizzas such as The Mediterranean with red pepper, eggplant, spinach, red onions, feta cheese and mozzarella cheese, and Toscana with tomato sauce, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, black olives, goat cheese and mozzarella. Entrées also pay homage the family of Italian favourites including Eggplant Parmigiano, Veal or Chicken Marsala, and Vitello Con Funghi with mushroom white wine cream sauce. A popular local "Italian" for "Larry Park" regulars, Parmigiano is open seven days a week and always busy.
The cozy casual interior of Parmigiano Trattoria
Linguine with black tiger shrimps, scallops and lobster tail with sun-dried tomatoes
and capers in a basil pesto-garlic sauce
Spaghetti with Calabrian-style meatballs and mushrooms in tomato-basil sauce
Whole Grilled Branzino
Friday, June 16, 2017
Owned and operated by Carlos and Samantha Martins since 1992, Churrasqueira Martins Grill House is a neighbourhood gem, tucked away in a lacklustre plaza near Rogers and Old Weston Road in the Rockcliffe-Smythe area of West Toronto. Famous for its succulent Barbecue Chicken and bathed in their famous sauce, there’s no rotisserie here — chicken is cooked the "authentic way," butterflied over a rotating horizontal charcoal grill. The classic BBQ sauce that completes the meal is an old family recipe. Martins also imports whole fish twice a week from Portugal which come in fresh on ice, never frozen, and serves quite possibly the city's best grilled fish and seafood in the city. Cooked to perfection and flavoured with love, the Grilled Octopus is the best I've ever had.
Relaxed and informal with an outstanding menu of over 60 Portuguese classics and extensive wine list including their own wine brand of house red and white, Martins sensational cuisine is only matched by their warm, friendly and gracious staff, helpful with any menu recommendations and attentive to our every whim. Arriving for a weekday lunch on a sunny summer afternoon, we began with complimentary plates of Presunto, a traditional dry-cured ham from Portugal, as well as heaping bowls of spiced olives, as we perused the mouthwatering menu. Our lovely server Jason, started us off with two bottles of Martins house white and red wine, followed with an assortment of appetizers including delicious Grilled Squid topped with parsley infused olive oil, Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato — clams in white wine and cilantro butter — and an impressive platter of gorgeous Grilled Tiger Shrimp. As entrées, we dove into a selection of Martin's signature dishes: Bacalhau à Lagareiro: Grilled Salted Cod; Dorada Grelhada: Grilled Whole Sea Bream; Sardinhas Assadas: Grilled Sardines sprinkled with sea salt and lemon and Slow-Roasted Charcoal-BBQ Chicken with fresh cut french fries. Open seven days a week, there is absolutely no place outside of Lisbon to find better grilled fish and seafood than Churrasqueira Martins. It will take great restraint on my part not to go back each and every day — "Obrigado a todos".
The warm, inviting and elegant interior of Churrasqueira Martins
Complimentary plates of Presunto, a dry-cured ham from Portugal, are brought to the table as diners peruse Churrasqueira Martins extensive menu of classic Portuguese dishes
Bowls of spiced olives are also set out to enjoy
A bottle or two of sparkling water was a sensible beginning to our indulgent pescatorian feast
Our warm and gracious server Jason presenting Churrasqueira Martins house white wine
Light bodied, cool and crisp, the Portuguese white wine was delicious
Lula Grelhada: Grilled Squid topped with parsley infused olive oil
Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato: Clams in white wine and cilantro butter
Gambas Grelhadas: Grilled Tiger Shrimp
Bacalhau à Lagareiro: Grilled Salted Cod served with roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables
Dorada Grelhada: Grilled Whole Sea Bream served with broccoli, carrots and broccolini
Slow-Roasted Charcoal-BBQ Chicken served with a pot of chili-laced Piri-Piri sauce,
the iconic blend of chili, lemon and oil, and fresh cut french fries
Sardinhas Assadas: Grilled Sardines sprinkled with sea salt and lemon
My spectacular Grilled Octopus served with asparagus, broccolini, carrot and picked onion
Thursday, June 15, 2017
A traditional Irish dish, rich and creamy Potato and Leek Soup is frugal, filling and full of flavour, and can also be made in little more than half an hour. Leeks and onions are simply sautéed in butter until soft, then added to diced potatoes and chicken stock and simmered for 30 mintes. The soup is then puréed with dill until silky smooth and seasoned with salt and white pepper. Simple and delicious, this heartwarming soup is taken up a notch with two perfect partners — dill and bacon. Hearty, warm and delicious, Potato and Leek Soup with Bacon & Dill is is one of the most rich and satisfying on a chilly day.
Leek and Potato Soup with Bacon, Sour Cream & Dill
4 tbsp butter
3 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only
3 cups of yellow onions, finely chopped
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup sour cream, for garnish
5 rashers of crumbled bacon, for garnish
Cook the bacon then drain on paper towel; crumble and set aside. In a large pot, warm the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the dill. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until very smooth. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls, swirl in a dollop of sour cream and garnish with some sprigs of fresh dill and crumbled bacon.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
High in protein, low in fat and full of vitamins and minerals, Quinoa is easy to cook and tastes great, especially when combined with a colourful and crunchy selection of diced cucumber, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, fresh mint and some surprising Japanese-inspired flavours: pickled ginger and Wafu Light Sesame Vinaigrette. A smooth and creamy sesame dressing, Wafu Light has 43% less fat than Wafu's Original Sesame dressing, at just 40 calories per tablespoon, contains no colours or artificial flavours, is cholesterol-free, is low in sodium and is also peanut-free. More importantly — it's delicious!
Royal Quinoa with Pickled Ginger, Cucumber & Dried Cranberries
1 cup red and white quinoa
1/2 english cucumber, finely diced
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pickled ginger, diced
1/8 cup pickled ginger juice
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 cup Wafu Sesame Japanese vinaigrette
Add the quinoa and 2 1/2 cups of water to a pot. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The water will evaporate, much like rice. Let the quinoa cool for 10-15 minutes before scooping into a large bowl. Add the pickled ginger and juice and toss well. Then add the cucumber, almonds, dried cranberries and fresh mint, stirring until well combined. Finally, mix in the Wafu sesame vinaigrette and toss until combined. Adjust seasoning to taste and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
One of my favourite salads as summer rolls around, is my luscious Grilled Seafood Salad with large black tiger shrimp, jumbo scallops and calamari combined with grilled asparagus, zucchini and sliced hard boiled eggs. Tossed with a tangy marinade, the seafood can be cleaned and prepped well in advance and pulled together at the last minute. As with any summer salad, spontaneity is key, adding whatever ingredients are readily available. The idea is to compose a fresh and flavourful hastle-free salad with a treasure trove of grilled seafood and a riot of your favourite veggies nestled on top, for an easy evening meal ideal for when the warm weather finally arrives for good.
Grilled Prawn, Scallop & Calamari Salad with Asparagus, Zucchini & Eggs
15 large black tiger shrimp
10 large scallops
5 whole squid with heads, cleaned
1 lb asparagus, with ends trimmed
2 large zucchini, trimmed and sliced on a diagonal to 1/4-inch thick
1 head red oak leaf lettuce, cleaned, washed and torn into bite size pieces
1/2 english cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tbsp pure sesame oil
1 tsp hot chili oil
1 tsp Pernod
1 tbsp olive oil
5 eggs, hard boiled and sliced in half
Maldon salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. Gently run a small knife down the centre of the backs to butterfly the shrimp. Coat with sesame and hot chile oil and a reason of Pernod, then allow to marinate, covered in a small bowl or plastic bag, for at least an hour.
Place the squid on a cutting board and slice each tube in half lengthwise. Lay each of the pieces of squid flat. Score the squid with diagonal slices, cutting through half the thickness, scoring first one way, then the other to create diamond-shaped cuts. Then trim the heads, removing and discarding the beak of the squid. Coat with 1 tsp of hot chili oil, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Leaving the scallops whole, marinate with a dash of sesame and olive oil, then set aside covered with cling film and refrigerate until ready to grill.
For the salad dressing, place the garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times until minced. Add the other ingredients and pulse until emulsified. Cover and set aside. Place the asparagus and zucchini in two separate bowls, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then cover and set aside.
To grill the seafood, place the shrimp, squid, scallops , zucchini and asparagus on a preheated BBQ and cook until the seafood is opaque and nicely grill marked, and the vegetables are cooked through. The squid and heads should curl up nicely.
To prepare the salad, place the lettuce, cucumber and salad dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. To serve, place the dressed salad on a large platter, then on top, decoratively arrange the grilled asparagus and zucchini, then top with the seafood with the halved boiled eggs arranged around the sides.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Tender, succulent and full of flavour, these Moroccan-inspired chicken breasts are marinated in a mixture of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic and ginger and an aromatic mixture of fragrant earthy spices including, ground cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and turmeric. Whisked together into a loose paste and combined with a bunch of finely chopped fresh cilantro, the breasts are well massaged with the bright earthy marinade until the meat is well coated, then covered and refrigerated for at least 2 hours or up to 8, before grilling on a hot barbecue until cooked through with attractive grill marks, about 6-7 minutes per side. Low calorie and carb-free, this delicious recipe is easy to prepare and would be sensational served with grilled vegetables and Ina's colourful Moroccan Couscous for a Casablanca-inspied evening — here's looking at you kid!
Grilled Moroccan Chicken Breasts
Recipe courtesy of 'Cooking Classy'
2 trimmed skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut in a half
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
1/2 tsp Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and then place the chicken in a large resealable bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the bag while pressing out any excess air. Rub the marinade over chicken breasts then transfer to the refrigerator and allow to marinate at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
Preheat a grill over medium-high heat to about 425°F. Grill the chicken until it's cooked through and nicely grill marks, about 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer to a decorative platter and garnish with cilantro and serve warm with a bowl of tzatziki, if desired.
Friday, June 9, 2017
Made with fresh green apples, plenty of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and a sensational crumbly streusel topping, this rustic and moist cake is gorgeous drizzled with a creamy Crème Anglaise. Baked in a springform pan for an hour until the streusel is nicely browned and the cake is cooked through, this Apple Crumble Cake is lovely with a cup of tea in the middle of the afternoon or as a comforting finish to a leisurely Sunday lunch.
Apple Crumble Cake with Streusel Topping
Recipe courtesy of Saving Room for Dessert
4 tbsp unsalted butter melted
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 3 tablespoons divided
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk, divided
3 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tbsp icing sugar for dusting
For the crumble topping, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl. Add the flour, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix with a fork to combine and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Invert the bottom of an 8" springform pan then lock on the sides of the pan. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of the pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and set aside. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside.
Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and place them in a large mixing bowl. Toss the apples with 3 tablespoons of flour and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat for several minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until the yolk disappears. And the vanilla and mix just until blended.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat on low until incorporated. Add about 1/2 of the milk and blend until smooth. Repeat adding 1/2 of the remaining flour, then all the remaining milk. Finally, blend in the last of the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated, scraping up the batter from the bottom of the bowl give it one last spin. Fold in the apples.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the crumble topping, leaving some in large clumps. Place a foil lined baking sheet on the lower oven rack to catch any drips that may come from the cake. Bake in the preheated oven for 60-70 minutes and cover the cake with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking if needed to prevent over browning. Check to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick in the centre. It should come out with only crumbs attached, no wet batter.
Cool the cake on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes if serving warm, or cool completely before removing the sides. Carefully slide the cake onto a serving platter and dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with a Crème Anglaise if desired.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Every neighbourhood has their own local Italian restaurant. A place that serves a little taste of Tuscany and a decent bottle of wine without breaking the bank. Living downtown, there are many places to choose from, but only a few that are just around the corner, which for us is Mercatto, nestled away on Toronto Street between King and Adelaide. One of five locations in the city, this restaurant was the original, and I believe the best. Warm and inviting with a smaller more intimate feel, the food is simple and delicious, and the staff consistently excellent. Regional Italian fare made with fresh seasonal ingredients and complimented by Mercatto's award-winning wine list from Italy’s diverse wine regions, makes dining at Mercatto a real pleasure.
Mercatto's short but solid menu
Soft candlelight set the mood on the long harvest table
Warm squishy bread and full flavoured Italian olive oil
A glass of cool crisp Gavi di Gavi
Ontario brewed Hop City Barking Squirrel Amber Lager
Blueberry and Strawberry Juice
Carrot Soup garnished with grated Parmigiano, dill and almonds
Prosciutto with a mixture of warm spiced olives and Taralli with Fennel Seeds
Mixed Salumi with olives and Taralli
Barbabietole Arrostiti of roasted beets, burrata, arugula, almonds and aged balsamic
Linguine with bay scallops, calamari, PEI mussels, filetto di pomodoro and peperoncini
Agnello Pizza with lamb sausage, Calabrese olives, charred onions, oregano,
fior di latte and San Marzano tomatoes
Perth Pork, Chop with Norcia lentils, fennel, orange and harissa
Orecchiette with Italian Sausage and Rapini
Recipe courtesy of chef Doug Neigel
1 bunch rapini, with 2-inches trimmed from bottom of stalks
4 cups dried orecchiette pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
12 oz Italian pork sausage, removed from casing
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 fresh red chili pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
4 tsp butter
1/4 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring heavily salted water to a boil. Add the rapini, return to a boil, and simmer for 2 minutes, or until tender. Transfer the rapini to a colander and drain well. When cool enough to handle, chop into 1-inch pieces. Bring the water back to a boil, add the pasta and give a good stir. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook according to package directions. When cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cook until browned on all sides. Add the chopped rapini and reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the garlic and chili pepper. Add the white wine and the reserved pasta water which will give some starch and body to the sauce. Add the drained pasta and reduce the heat to low. Add the butter and cheese and combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. To serve, mound the pasta into a large serving dish or divide among individual serving bowls. Grate more cheese overtop, if desired.