Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Italian Bliss: Mastering Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Prepare to embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Italy with our exquisite recipe for Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. This traditional dish, bursting with flavors and textures, marries the hearty goodness of Italian sausage with the vibrant bitterness of broccoli rabe. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you step by step through the creation of this mouthwatering masterpiece, ensuring a delightful experience that transcends the ordinary.


To create this symphony of flavors, gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese for serving


Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orecchiette pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, sautéing until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Step 2: Sauté the Sausage

  1. Add the crumbled Italian sausage to the skillet, breaking it apart with a spoon as it cooks. Cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through.

Step 3: Add Broccoli Rabe

  1. Incorporate the chopped broccoli rabe into the skillet, mixing it well with the sausage and garlic. Cook until the broccoli rabe wilts and becomes tender.

Step 4: Combine Pasta and Sauce

  1. Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the skillet with the sausage and broccoli rabe. Toss everything together, ensuring the pasta is well coated with the flavorful mixture.
  2. If the dish seems dry, add some of the reserved pasta water a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.

Step 5: Season and Serve

  1. Season the dish with salt and black pepper to taste. Toss once more to incorporate the seasoning.
  2. Serve the Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe in individual plates, generously sprinkling grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top.

Cook Notes

Perfect your culinary prowess with these insightful notes:

  • Broccoli Rabe Preparation: Trim the tough ends of the broccoli rabe stems before chopping. Blanching the broccoli rabe in boiling water for 2-3 minutes before adding it to the skillet can help reduce its bitterness.
  • Sausage Selection: Opt for high-quality sweet Italian sausage to impart rich flavor to the dish. If you prefer a spicier kick, choose hot Italian sausage instead.
  • Pasta Water Magic: The starchy pasta water reserved before draining is a secret weapon for achieving a silky and cohesive sauce. Use it judiciously to adjust the consistency and enhance the flavor.


Garlic Infusion

For garlic enthusiasts, amplify the garlic flavor:

  • Roast a few cloves of garlic in the oven until golden brown, then mash and mix them into the pasta before serving.

Sun-Dried Tomato Twist

Add a burst of sweetness and tanginess:

  • Include a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet along with the sausage and broccoli rabe.

Lemon Zest Zing

Elevate freshness with a citrusy touch:

  • Grate some lemon zest over the finished dish before serving to brighten up the flavors.

Keto Versions

For those embracing a keto lifestyle, adapt the recipe with these adjustments:

  • Replace orecchiette pasta with a low-carb alternative like cauliflower rice or shirataki noodles.
  • Use lean Italian sausage or turkey sausage to reduce the overall fat content.
  • Increase the amount of olive oil for added healthy fats.

Low Carb Versions

For a lower-carb option:

  • Substitute orecchiette pasta with whole-grain or legume-based pasta alternatives.
  • Choose a lean sausage or opt for plant-based sausage.

In conclusion, Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe is a celebration of authentic Italian flavors, bringing together the robustness of sausage, the bitterness of broccoli rabe, and the comforting embrace of perfectly cooked pasta. As you venture into the world of Italian cuisine, feel free to experiment with variations that suit your taste buds, whether it’s an extra garlicky kick, a sun-dried tomato twist, or a hint of citrusy freshness.

For those adhering to keto or low-carb lifestyles, we’ve provided thoughtful modifications, ensuring that everyone can savor the essence of this classic dish without compromising dietary goals. So, gather your ingredients, embrace the art of Italian cooking, and savor the symphony of flavors in every forkful of Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. Buon appetito!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *