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Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Trim the last 1/4 inch of the stems from the broccoli rabe, and roughly chop the rest. You can include the thick stems after you trim the bottom off; they are nice and crunchy. Blanch the broccoli rabe, cooking for about a minute, until it’s slightly wilted and the stalks are crisp.
Remove the broccoli rabe from the water with a slotted spoon, and strain in a colander. Bring the water back to a boil, and add the orecchiette, cooking for about eight minutes, or until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and add the sausage, removed from its casings. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage, and cook until it’s browned, and you have a bit of sausagey oily liquid in the pan. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes, and saute it all together for about 30 seconds. Then add the broccoli rabe to the same skillet, and toss it together to coat the broccoli rabe with sausage spicy oil.
Ideally, the sausage-broccoli rabe mixture and the pasta will be done at the same time. Add the orecchiette and a bit of the pasta-cooking water (a few tablespoons should do it) to the sausage-broccoli rabe mixture, along with the parmesan, and a bit of salt and pepper, and toss it all together. The pasta water and parmesan should kind of bind together with the oil to create a pseudo-sauce, and coat the pasta.
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SFFoodFan 1 year agoThis is so delicious -- whether hot or cold (re: leftovers).