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Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Sausage and broccoli rabe is a great combination. Even if you are not a big broccoli rabe eater, you need to try them together. The contrast between the bitterness of the broccoli rabe and the sweet Italian sausage just works. One of my favorite sausages of all time was one with little bits of broccoli rabe mixed in with the meat, that I used to get from Arthur Ave. That being said, the best way to try this combination is tossed with tiny ear shaped orecchiette. Both the orecchiette pasta and this dish are typical of the Puglia region of Italy, which is in the South and forms the heel of the boot.


Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Recipe

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 1x



  • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • grated parmagiano-reggiano cheese for serving


  1. Remove the sausage from the casing and crumble into small pieces.
  2. Wash the broccoli rabe under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut off and discard about one inch off bottom of stems. Cut remaining broccoli rabe with leaves into about 2 inch pieces.
  3. Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil.
  4. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the crumbled sausage and cook stirring and breaking up the sausage until cooked through and lightly browned.
  5. Using a slotted spoon remove the cooked sausage from the pan and set aside, leaving as much oil behind as possible to saute the garlic and broccoli rabe in, if needed add an extra tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. Drop the broccoli rabe into to the pot of boiling water.
  7. At the same time add the garlic to the saute pan and cook until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes.
  8. Immediately remove the broccoli rabe from the pot using a mesh strainer or tongs (do not strain the whole pot, because you will be cooking the pasta in the same boiling water), shake excess water out and add to the pan with the garlic. Season with Salt and pepper. Cook stirring until broccoli rabe is tender, 3-5 minutes.
  9. Add the sausage back into the pan and toss to combine. Remove pan from the heat.
  10. Meanwhile add the orecchiette to the pot of boiling water that the broccoli rabe was cooked in. Cook until pasta is al dente, and strain.
  11. Place the pan with the broccoli rabe and sausage back over medium-high heat, and add the oricchiete. Toss together until well combined.
  12. Dish out the pasta to warm plates and serve with cheese on the side for sprinkling.

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