Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

A recent episode of America’s Test Kitchen offered two pasta recipes. The first one, Pasta with Cheese and Eggs sounded easy and delicious, but it turned out to be disappointing. First, I opted for olive oil rather than than their recommended lard, so I guess that cut down on the flavor a bit. Plus, I couldn’t find tubetti pasta at Claudio’s Cheese Shop over on 9th Street. Claudio’s stocks walls of pasta of seemingly every conceivable type, as well as some inconceivable types, but the closest I could find was tubettone rigato which was much larger than the recommended tubetti. The resulting dish was merely ok, and it didn’t store well for leftovers.

OrecchietteOn to their second pasta dish, Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe. I did much better with this one.

I had never cooked broccoli rabe before, although I’ve eaten it in restaurants on occasion. It turns out to be easy to cook and delicious to eat, although it’s difficult to work with in my tiny kitchen with limited counter space. Guess one can’t have everything.

I used hot Italian sausage as that’s what I had in my freezer. This recipe calls for either bulk sausage or cutting open the casings to free up the sausage meat.

The prep is the hardest part of this really simple recipe; just remember to turn on the burner with the water when you start the prep so it will be boiling when you’re ready to toss in the broccoli rabe. The recipe recommends two minutes to blanch but I went for three.

One of the great things about this recipe is the leftovers were just as good even two days later.


Broccoli rabe


1 lb of Broccoli rabe
2 ounces Italian sausage hot or mild (bulk or empty out the casings)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb orecchiette
2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated


1. Slice off ends of broccoli rabe and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces, stems and all
2. Brown the sausage into half inch pieces, about 5 minutes
3. Add garlic and pepper flakes for 30 seconds and turn off heat
4. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil with a tablespoon of table salt
5. Add broccoli rabe for 2 minutes and transfer to sausage pan
6. Cook orecchiette in water to al dente, about 9 minutes
7. Reserve some pasta water, about a cup, and drain
8. Put pasta back in pasta pan, keep burner on low, add sausage mixture, add Romano and 1/3 cup pasta liquid and stir
9. Add more pasta liquid if needed and serve


Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

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