Friday, November 19, 2010

Orecchiete with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

This dish is one of my favorites.  Fairly easy, very flavorful, and includes your carbs, protein and veggies. Perfetto.

Personal note:  I made this dish last week and am posting about it now.  I cooked nothing this week. NOTHING. Liberating.  Kevin was out of town this week, and plans kept cropping up for me in the evenings, so I didn't need to cook.  But I also have to admit that most of my nesting habits, not only cooking but cleaning as well, pretty much went out the window this week.  I didn't even hang a little Thanksgiving wreath that I bought (and which is very very cute).  I'm sure part of it was the busy schedule, but I'm also wondering how much of it was Kevin's absence.  Which is pretty lame, as if whether I keep up the apartment depends, at least in part, on whether he's there.  I hope it was more the busy schedule. I did, however, take out the trash and recycling.  And give the pugs a bath. And spend extensive time on Etsy looking for Christmas decorations. Huge honkin' pat on the back for me.

  • 1 lb sausage, casings removed (I used turkey sausage)
  • 2 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe (about 1 lb)
  • 1 lb orecchiete pasta 
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or to taste)
Serves 6-8.

Heat a few tsp of olive oil in a large deep skillet (or, like me, use your damn Le Creuset pot for everything even though it doesn't brown meat that well) over medium heat. Crumble up the sausage into the pot.

Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until nicely browned.  In a skillet this would probably take about 7-10 minutes, for me it took longer because of my big steamer pot.  Remove sausage with slotted spoon set aside.

While the sausage is cooking (or after it's done), wash your broccoli rabe.  Cut off the dry ends of the stalks. 

Peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler.  This step is a bit of a pain in the ass but I think it makes a huge difference when you're trying to eat the stalks, which have somewhat of a thick skin.  Just lay the stalk on the cutting board, swipe it with your peeler, turn the stalk to a new side, and swipe again.  I do this about three time to each stalk, but two is probably enough.  

It does NOT have to be perfectly peeled--you just want to remove some of the tougher outer layer so your teeth can sink and in break through the stalk, as opposed to struggling with an unbreakable stalk and looking like an idiot.

Chop the broccoli rabe into about 3-inch pieces. 

Back to the pot. If dry, add a tsp or two of olive oil.  Toss in the garlic slices and red pepper flakes.  

Cook just until garlic turns lightly golden, and then add in half the broccoli rabe.  Toss to coat.  When it wilts down a bit, add in the other half.  Toss to coat, and add some salt and pepper (not too much because the sausage probably has quite a bit of salt).

When the broccoli rabe has wilted down, pour in about 3 TBS of water.  Cover the pot and lower the heat, simmering the broccoli rabe until desired tenderness, anywhere from 5-10 minutes.  Lift the cover occasionally and stir, and add a little water if it looks too dry.

You'll end up with something looking like this.  Which oddly doesn't look terribly different than the one above. Hm.

While broccoli rabe is cooking (or if you're like me, after the broccoli rabe is done and you've turned off the heat under that pot), cook pasta according to directions, shaving off a minute or so.   Before draining, ladle out about 1 cup of pasta water.  Drain pasta and add to broccoli rabe, along with the cooked sausage.

Add in however much cheese you like, with some of the pasta water to help loosen things up. Start with a smaller amount of water, like 1/4 cup, and work your way up from there.



  1. Love sausage and pasta! Question - do you reserve the pasta water before it's done cooking? Or do you save it as you're draining the pasta. I always forget to save it on the side.

  2. that looks perfect. I could just sink my teeth into those little dough balls of pasta...

  3. bigapplenosh: always against the vegetables, eh?

    lobster: i usually scoop out some water a few minutes for the pasta is done cooking. once i scooped it out with a glass that apparently was not tempered and it broke. sad.

    sashacleo: such a good staple dish.

  4. So, I can't think about the word orecchiete without thinking about Giada, and I always say it my head like she would. Is that weird? Am I weird?

  5. You forgot to peel your thumb like I did, that's what the cool kids do. That's why I did it.

    But the cool kids also eat Orecchiete with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe -- so I'd say you're in. ;)

  6. Yum... looks pretty simple. I might just try this one.

  7. This sounds really good and easy enough for me to handle!

    And oh yeah, I don't cook or clean when my husband goes out of town. If nobody is around to judge me except the cats, I'm not gonna do it!

  8. mintedlife: kevin and i *love* over enunciating italian words giada-style!

    jessica: haha, yes i'll remember the self-mutilation next time.

    nellie and morgan: yes, you should definitely try it!