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Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

December 23, 2008

I feel like a post a lot of pasta recipes- maybe too many.  But when I’m cooking for myself and want a recipe I can scale back for 2 or 3 servings, and something that will make a great lunch, pasta always fits the bill.  So, I’m posting another pasta recipe today.  This one is a great winter recipe because it’s got sausage and broccoli rabe, which is in season.  If you don’t like broccoli rabe because it’s a little bitter, you could substitute broccolini, which is a lot sweeter but lacks the leaves.  This recipe was inspired by one from Williams-Sonoma, but it’s a kind of traditional Italian dish and I just winged it.  Serves 4.

Vegetarian variation: replace the sausage with cannelini beans or chickpeas

Ingredients:

1/4 c plain dried bread crumbs

2 T olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch broccoli rabe, thick ends trimmed so only pencil-thin stalks remain

1 T salt

1 lb chicken sun-dried tomato feta sausage, or other Italian sausage

pinch red pepper flakes

1 lb orecchiette or farfalle

Parmesan, for sprinkling

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large pot, bring enough water to boil to cook pasta and add2 t salt.  When water boils, add the broccoli rabe and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Remove broccoli rabe from pot- but don’t throw out the water- and cut into 2″ lengths.  Set aside.  Bring same water to a boil again and cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1/2 c of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat 1 T olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add 1 clove of the garlic.  Saute for 2 minutes until garlic is softened.  Add bread crumbs and stir to coat in the oil.  Cook breadcrumbs, stirring, until golden brown- about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat reamining 1 T olive oil over medium heat in same pan and add the rest of the garlic and pinch of red pepper flakes.  Cook 2-3 minutes or until golden.  Remove sausage from casing and crumble into pan and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until done- about 4-5 minutes.  Add reserved broccoli rabe and heat through.  Add cooked pasta and 1/3 c pasta water and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickend and coats the pasta- add more of the pasta water if needed to moisten.  Season with salt, if needed, and pepper.  Place pasta mixture in bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan and top each  bowl with 1 T of the breadcrumbs.

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