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Quick Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

If broccoli rabe is not available, use 1 1/2 lb. broccoli instead. Cut the broccoli into small florets and reserve the stalks for another use.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, about 1 1/2 lb., trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. orecchiette, farfalle or other medium-size pasta

Directions:

Make the sauce
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and broccoli rabe to the boiling water. Cover and cook until nearly tender, 4 minutes. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Return the water to a boil.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the sausage and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Drain off all but 4 Tbs. fat from the pan. Add the garlic, fennel seed and red pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and stir to combine.

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Add as much of the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).