Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
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
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
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.