If you're from Massachusetts, Maine or Rhode Island you have most likely heard of the television show Phantom Gourmet. It's a food show that profiles restaurants around New England. A few years ago, Phantom Gourmet showcased a place called New Deal Fruit in Revere, MA and the absolutely incredible sandwiches available at their deli counter. My mom hounded me until we finally made the day trip. That's when I met The West Ender Sub for the first time. It was love at first bite. Years later, thinking of that sandwich, I knew I needed to make a cheesy sausage and broccoli rabe sub of my own.
New Deal Fruit Has Real Deal Sandwiches
It's an unsuspecting place from the outside, but this market with a deli counter is putting out some of the best sandwiches in Boston. Great day trip if you pick up your sandwiches and head over to Revere Beach for a picnic! And the Phantom Gourmet profile will leave you drooling over the food and getting a real kick out of the guys behind the counter.
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I have a lot of food memories and food stories. There are certain foods I've eaten that I try to recreate for my blog. Like my Chicken Quesadillas, where I pine for the best quesadilla of my life at a now-closed restaurant in Boston, the West Ender Sub at New Deal Fruit is a sandwich worth traveling for. One of the delights of their sandwich is the locally made sausage. However, I realize we can't all get to a market that sells local sausage. They use a garlic and cheese sausage for their sandwich. I have yet to find a garlic and cheese sausage at the grocery store that is worthy of this sandwich. For my version, I use a sweet Italian sausage. If you want it spicy - go for the spicy Italian Sausage.
The cheese is important too. The sharp provolone and parmesan is essential to the recipe and blends well with the flavors of the sausage and broccoli rabe. Don't go rogue on this and use cheddar or American. Use the sharp provolone and parmesan for best results.
Cheesy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Sub: Easy to feed a crowd with this one
Italian sausage is usually pretty affordable and good quality bags of sub rolls are readily available at the deli counter of your local grocery store. This is a great sub for a small gathering, Monday night football, or movie night! It comes together very easily and you can bulk toast your sub rolls in the oven, pull them out, stuff and serve! So simple and the flavors are incredible!
So here is my attempt to create the amazing West Ender from New Deal Fruit in Revere, MA. If you live in the area, I highly recommend grabbing a sandwich from this place. Food is amazing and they have a unique selection of boxed pasta in their market too!
Looking for More Awesome Sandwiches? No Problem! Can Get Started With These:
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- Anthony Bourdain's Macau-Style Pork Chop Sandwich
- The Ultimate Roasted Veggie Sandwich
- Korean Bulgogi Sandwich w/Spicy Cucumbers & Cheddar
- French Onion Grilled Cheese w/Bacon
Cheesy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Sub
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 Submarine Sandwiches 1x
This cheesy sausage and broccoli rabe sub is my ode to New Deal Fruit's West Ender. The last sub you'll ever eat. You're gonna love it!
- 8 Sweet Italian Sausages
- 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe
- 4 submarine rolls
- 1 package of SHARP provolone cheese (8 oz)
- ½ cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon wedge
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
- Chili flakes (optional topping)
- Start with cooking the sausage. Using a large pan, fill it with about ¼” of water. Add the sausage to the pan. Cook on high heat on your stove top until the water comes to a boil. Should just take a few minutes. Then turn heat to a low simmer and put the lid on. Let the sausage steam for about 10 minutes.
- You should also have another, smaller pot with water filled about half-way. Heat on high until water comes to a boil.
- Cut the longer end stems from the bunch of broccoli rabe. Drop the broccoli rabe into the boiling water. Turn heat to low and let the broccoli rabe blanch in the hot water for 3-4 minutes. This will help partially cook it, make the stems softer, and reduce the slight bitterness of this vegetable. When you remove it, put it in a bowl and stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes. DON’T FORGET TO TAKE IT OUT after 5 minutes. Set your timer. Some people use ice water baths to stop the cooking process, but I just stick it in the freezer. It’s easier and works great… unless you forget about it and it freezes. Then it sucks.
- Once the sausage are steamed, drain the water from the pan. Now we need to brown the sausage. You probably don’t need oil here, but if the pan is dry after a few minutes of browning, add a splash of olive oil. I didn’t add any and it worked out. I use the “Buddy System” when I cook loose sausage in the pan. I pair them together in two to help the sausage keep their stability so I can get all the sides browned. Otherwise, they roll around and can get too brown on one side and nothing on the other. Browning them should take another 10-15 minutes. I keep the lid off here.
- While sausage is browning, you should finely dice the garlic.
- You need a lemon wedge or two to squeeze onto the sausage mixture later. So cut your lemon wedge.
- Next, shred both the Sharp Provolone cheese and the fresh Parmesan.
- Finish browning the sausage, then remove them from the pan and onto a cutting board.
- Add a splash of olive oil to the same pan, and sauté the broccoli rabe for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste here. When finished, remove from the pan and set aside for a minute.
- Back to the cutting board. Cut the sausage into round bite-sized pieces, then put them back in the pan and cook on medium heat a few minutes to crisp them up a little.
- Add the broccoli rabe to the sausage and give it a mix.
- Create a well in middle of pan and add a splash of olive oil, then the garlic. Let garlic cook for a minute, then mix everything together until well combined.
- Add most of the cheese to the top of the broccoli rabe, sausage and garlic mixture and let it melt. Leave some cheese in reserve if you want to sprinkle a little more on the sub.
- Once cheese has melted, you can start stuffing your subs. If you want to toast them ahead of time, then stuff and eat them - that works. I stuffed them, added a little more cheese on top (the reserved cheese) then put them under the broiler to melt the cheese and get the sub a little toasty. You don’t HAVE to toast the sub rolls if you don’t want to. It’s a personal choice at this point.
- Sprinkle some chili flakes on top before serving if you want. Gives it a little kick.
- I also garnished with some fresh Parmesan cheese too (optional)
- Serve these immediately. Remember: hot food in a sub roll will create a soggy roll situation if you let them sit too long. Best to stuff and eat right away!
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- With the broccoli rabe. It does have a slightly tougher stem and might be better to chop it up a bit before blanching it. That way when you add it to the sub later it’s easier to eat. I love how it looks long, however, keeping it longer had me wrestling a bit when I took a bite. The sub is so delicious it’s worth it, but chopping it up a little is probably better.
- This sub is inspired by The West Ender sub at new Deal Fruit in Revere, MA. I believe they use a garlic and cheese sausage for theirs and they are locally made. I couldn’t get there to buy the local sausage so I used Sweet Italian sausage from the grocery store.
This was sooo yummy and a nice change!! We put a bit of balsamic glaze on the sandwich! Delish!
We used Ciabbatta rolls toasted then broiled for 2 minutes! Perfect!
Hey there! So happy you made this - yay! I do love this one too. Great idea with the balsamic glaze - I will have to try that! And ciabatta sound yummy too!