Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 6.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini and cime di rapa, has a pleasantly bitter flavor that is an appealing contrast to the sweet pork sausage in the sauce. As you toss, both ingredients become trapped in the hollows of the ear-shaped pasta, making every bite wonderfully flavorful. Prepare this dish in cool-weather months, when broccoli rabe is in season.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain fine dried bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbs. sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 1/2 lb. broccoli rabe, trimmed
  • 1 lb. dried orecchiette
  • 1/2 lb. Italian sweet fennel sausage, casings discarded and meat coarsely
      chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

In a fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and stir to coat them with the oil. Season lightly with salt and cook, stirring often, until the crumbs are an even, deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Pour onto a plate and let cool.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil and add the 2 Tbs. salt. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, testing often, until the stems are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a wire-mesh skimmer, lift out the broccoli rabe into a sieve and cool it quickly under cold running water. Drain and squeeze gently to remove excess moisture. Chop coarsely and set aside.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir well and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in the fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the 1/3 cup olive oil. Add the sausage, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage meat with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned, about 7 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and stir to combine with the sausage. Cook until the broccoli rabe is hot throughout, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.

When the pasta is ready, scoop out and reserve about 2 ladlefuls of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sausage mixture and the cheese and stir and toss well over low heat to combine, adjusting the consistency with some of the cooking water, if needed.

Divide the pasta among warmed plates or shallow bowls, top each portion with a sprinkle of the toasted bread crumbs and serve immediately. Pass the remaining bread crumbs at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian, by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).
Rated 5 out of 5 by from we call this "weeds" I've been making something very similar to this for years. My family calls it "weeds" because of the rapini :) I sometimes substitute a mix of radicchio and endive (don't blanche) i use the pasta water to make my sauce as well. i usually top it with some toasted pignoli instead of bread crumbs.
Date published: 2015-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a gift for my fiance! absolutely delicious! was tired of all my own ideas, and this one hit it out of the ball park! used rainbow chard and it's beautiful! i loved it and have made a few times now. well done! my fiance requests this at least once a month now. it's been locked in as a regular recipe now. thank you guys so much.
Date published: 2014-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Easy meal for Loved the idea, however, I could not find Orecchiette at my local store, so I substituted Farfalle pasta. I basically modified the recipe to work for us. I purchased link Italian sausage, and used Parmesan instead of Romano cheese omitted the red pepper.
Date published: 2014-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You can't get this in a restaurant Fantastic synergy of flavours in this recipe. I was able to find wild boar sausage with sage and porcini at my local specialty food store (Vincenzo's in Waterloo, Ontario) and used Swiss Chard instead of Broccoli Rabe, but this was a huge hit for my family. I would definitely recommend this recipe.
Date published: 2013-01-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from "sauce" has issues I made this recipie this weekend after finding the Feb WS catalog it was in and requesting the recipe. First, broccoli rabe is not in season so I used regular broccoli but roasted it in the oven to richen it up. I also used oriecchiete pasta from the store, but it was just too dense & heavy. The main issue I had was the cheese & pasta water. As soon as the dish got even remotely cool it clumped up badly. Any suggestions on how to "lighten" this up some? I love the idea but it needs work. Does anyone know of where I can buy oricchiete pasta that's "thinner"? I will have to play with this.
Date published: 2012-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An outstanding source of dietary fiber I made this last night and it was a huge hit in my house. I have never cooked with broccoli rabe before but found this recipe on the Williams Sonoma website.and it sounded like a great combination. I used some hot Italian sausage instead of the sweet fennel to give it some heat. In the future, I'd try escarole and /or broccolini for fun.
Date published: 2012-02-01
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