This quick and easy pasta recipe is a great one to have in your dinner rotation. It’s a crowd pleaser and a great way to introduce new vegetables to kids. Broccoli rabe or rapini, tends to be really bitter. Blanching it first cuts the bitterness and sautéing it with the fat from the sausage, and a little bit of garlic, makes it wonderfully flavorful! If you can’t find broccoli rabe at your market you could substitute broccolini or a regular head of broccoli.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
- 1 lb Orecchiette
- 1 lb Broccoli Rabe
- 1 lb Italian Sausage, casings removed
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 c grated parm
- 1 tsp chili flake optional
Heat a large sauté pan to medium high heat. Add a tbs of olive oil to the pan and sauté the sausage until golden brown and fully cooked. Remove the sausage from the pan and set to drain on a paper towel.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add two heaping tbs of salt. Blanch the broccoli rabe until bright green and tender, about 2-3mins. Use tongs or a wire mesh skimmer to remove the broccoli from the water and into an ice bath to cool. Once cool, drain on paper towels, squeeze to remove any excess water.
Cook the pasta to al dente in the same pot you just blanched the broccoli in. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Give the broccoli a rough chop and then place it into the pan that you cooked the sausage in. If there is residual fat in the pan left over from the sausage then no need for extra oil. If not, add 2tbs of olive oil to the pan. Sauté for 2-3mins. Add the garlic slivers and a good pinch of salt.
Add the sausage back to the pan and then the orecchiette. Add 1/2c of pasta water. Let everything cook together for 3-4 minutes, stirring gently while reducing the liquid in the pan. Taste and add more salt if necessary, keeping in mind you'll be adding salty parmesan cheese at the end.
Divide the pasta among warmed plates or shallow bowls, top each portion with a hefty sprinkle parmesan and chili flake and serve immediately.