- As an experienced chef and cooking instructor, I love making this pasta dish.
- It only requires five key ingredients and it can easily be made vegan.
- The simple pasta dish features orecchiette, sausage, and broccoli rabe.
Pasta is as much about the sauce as it is the shape, which is why I love the combination in one of my go-to meals: orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe.
This is one of those dishes that seems too easy to be indulgent and too healthy to please everyone but somehow does all of the above.
Each piece of orecchiette, which literally means “little ears,” is traditionally pressed with the belly of a knife, and folded to produce those telltale wrinkles.
Orecchiette has a great cup-like shape. Plus its dough is simply a mix of durum wheat and water so the below recipe is easily made vegan if you use a meat substitute and omit the cheese.
You can use any sausage you want for this recipe, too.
I like using the noticeably bitter broccoli rabe for the complexity it adds, but you can substitute it with broccoli or broccolini.
When it’s cradled between pasta cups, doused in sausage and its fat, and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano, broccoli rabe’s bitter flavor becomes dynamic and textural in a really exciting way.
Frankly, I think anything would taste good when paired with orecchiette and broccoli rabe.
- 3-4 links sausage of choice
- ¼ to 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 bunch of broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch segments
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta
- Peel casing off of sausage.
- Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add sausage and chili flakes and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the sausage so the fat renders. Turn heat up to medium until browned and then turn off the heat.
- Add pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 12 minutes until just under al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for use in the final sauce.
- Add broccoli rabe and stir. Set a timer for about two minutes or until broccoli rabe and orecchiette are both just cooked.
- Drain pasta and broccoli rabe in a colander and then add to the pan with browned sausage. Add ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano and some of the reserved pasta water. Toss with the pasta and broccoli rabe.
- Serve in individual bowls with extra shaved or grated Parm for a garnish.