I can’t get enough of broccoli rabe, and I love the way its pleasant bitterness combines with the fatty-savory-ness of the sausage in this Italian-inspired pasta, with the pungent garlic and spicy red pepper rounding everything out. Orecchiette means “little ears”; you can use another pasta shape if you like, but the “ear canal” indentation in the pasta is really perfect for catching little bits of the sausage and garlic! This dish can be made vegetarian—just eliminate the sausage and add an extra tablespoon or two of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice.
- 1 large bunch broccoli rabe (rapini)
- 3/4 lb mild italian sausage with fennel, casings removed
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lb dried orecchiette pasta
- Wash broccoli rabe and remove any large or woody stems. Chop broccoli rabe into 1-inch pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the broccoli rabe, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until large stems are tender. Drain and set aside.
- Cook orecchiette until al dente, according to package instructions, drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, cook the sausage: in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat; add sausage and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up with a spatula, for 7 to 10 minutes or until cooked through and browned. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, broccoli rabe, and pepper flakes; cook another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring.
- In a large bowl, combine pasta with the skillet contents; taste and add salt if necessary.
Serves 4 to 6