This Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Recipe is made with sausage, broccoli rabe, garlic, diced tomato, orecchiette pasta, olive oil and red pepper flakes.
This is one of my favorite of Nan’s recipes. She makes this once a month and it is always a hit in the family. This dish is so quick and easy to make, using the same residual broccoli rabe water to cook the pasta. It almost seems impossible to make a recipe that the whole family would like, but this one is a winner. This meal is an an easy way to get your kids to eat their greens. It takes 25 minutes to make, tops. You will need to take the sausage out of the casing and break it apart to mix in well with the dish.
- What is Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage?
- Why is Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage so great?
- Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Recipe Ingredients
- How to make Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
- What to serve with Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
- Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Recipe Variations
- How to store Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
- Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Recipe Top tips
- Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Recipe
- Food safety
What is Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage?
Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage is a classic Italian pasta dish that originated in the southern region of Italy. Orecchiette is a small, ear-shaped pasta that is perfect for holding onto the flavorful sauce in this dish. The broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is a leafy green vegetable that has a slightly bitter taste and pairs well with the spicy sausage. The dish is typically made with garlic, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese, which add a depth of flavor to the sauce. It's a hearty and comforting dish that is perfect for a cozy night in.
Why is Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage so great?
- Flavorful: The combination of spicy sausage, garlic, and bitter broccoli rabe creates a flavor explosion in your mouth.
- Versatile: Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage can be served as a main dish or a side dish, making it a versatile recipe to have in your cooking repertoire.
- Easy to make: The recipe is easy to make and requires only a few ingredients, which makes it a great option for a weeknight dinner.
- Comforting: The hearty pasta and flavorful sauce make this dish a perfect comfort food that will warm you up on a cold day.
- Nutritious: Broccoli rabe is a great source of vitamins and minerals, while the sausage adds protein to the dish. The combination of the two creates a nutritious meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and energized.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Broccoli rabe
- Olive oil
See recipe card for Broccolini Sausage Pasta quantities.
How to make Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
Start by blanching the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling water. Put the broccoli rabe in for 2 minutes and take it out. When you are done, use tongs to take the broccoli rabe out and set aside. Do not strain the water as we will be cooking the pasta inside the same pot of water.
Take the sausage out of the casing and then cutting the sausage into bite sized pieces. In a large pan, add the olive oil and garlic. Wait until the garlic browns and then add the sausage. Cook the sausage for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the diced tomatoes. Cook for 4 minutes and add the blanched broccoli rabe into the sausage mixture. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to your liking. Keep simmering until the sausage is cooked through, about an extra 10 minutes. The sausage will be ready when the outside of the sausages are a deep golden brown and the inside is pale but with no sign of pink.
Cook the pasta in the same broccoli rabe water according to package instructions. When both the sausage mixture and pasta are done, combine and enjoy. Top with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes to your liking.
Hint: You only need to add the broccolini in boiling water for 2 minutes.
What to serve with Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
- Garlic bread: Serve some garlic bread on the side to sop up any leftover sauce from the pasta.
- Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing is a great complement to the rich flavors of the pasta.
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower can provide a nice textural contrast to the pasta and add some extra nutrients to the meal.
- Wine: Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage pairs well with a dry, full-bodied red wine such as Chianti or Barolo. Alternatively, a crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio can also be a good choice.
- Sausage: I love using Italian sausage for this, with a combination of some being spicy and some being sweet.
- Broccolini: For best results, use a fresh head of broccolini.
- Parmesan: I use regular grated parmesan from the store. You could also grate your own parmesan too.
- Garlic: You can smash the garlic or mince it.
- Olive Oil: I would extra virgin olive oil for best quality and taste.
- Pasta: I used orechiette but you can use any bite size pasta.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Recipe Variations
- Vegetarian version: You can make a vegetarian version of this recipe by omitting the sausage and replacing it with mushrooms or chickpeas.
- Creamy sauce: If you prefer a creamier sauce, you can add a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half to the pan before serving.
- Cheese: Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the pasta before serving for some added flavor.
- Spicier version: If you like your pasta with a bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes or chopped jalapenos to the sauce.
- Different pasta: While orecchiette is traditional for this recipe, you can use other types of pasta, such as penne or rigatoni, if you prefer.
Check out this CAJUN SHRIMP ORZO!
- Large pot: for boiling the pasta
- Large skillet or sauté pan: for cooking the sausage and broccoli rabe
- Colander: for draining the pasta
- Tongs or slotted spoon: for removing the broccoli rabe from boiling water and transferring it to the skillet
- Knife and cutting board: for chopping the garlic and trimming the broccoli rabe
- Measuring cups and spoons: for measuring the ingredients
- Wooden spoon or spatula: for stirring the pasta and sauce
- Parmesan cheese grater: for grating fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
How to store Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
To store Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage, transfer the cooked pasta, sausage, and broccoli rabe to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, add a splash of water or chicken broth to the pasta and reheat in a skillet or in the microwave.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Recipe Top tips
- Blanch the broccoli rabe before sautéing it with garlic and red pepper flakes. This will help to tenderize the tough stems and leaves.
- Choose a high-quality sausage for the recipe. Look for sausage with a good balance of fat and meat, and be sure to remove the casing before cooking.
- Don't overcook the pasta. Orecchiette should be cooked until al dente, which means it should still have a slight bite to it.
- Reserve some of the pasta water before draining the cooked orecchiette. This starchy water can be used to help thicken the sauce and bring everything together.
- Add a splash of white wine or lemon juice to brighten the flavors of the dish. This can be added during the cooking process or just before serving.
- Don't be afraid to adjust the seasoning to your liking. Taste the dish before serving and add more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes as needed.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove