Orechiette with Sausage & Broccoli

My friend Theresa from Foodhunter's Guide to Cuisine is hosting Presto Pasta Nights and here is my entry.

Orechiette w/ Sausage & Broccoli.

Orechiette means "little ears" in Italian. Served with broccoli rabe and sausage, this is one of MY favorite pasta dishes of all time.

However, there are many broccoli rabe haters out there. They say it is too bitter (like the other eater in this house)......so I make it with regular broccoli florets instead.

On another note, this is the only time that I like my broccoli OVERCOOKED, not al dente. It should be light green and on the soft side, so it will blend in with the other ingredients, however it is personal choice.

There are no rules when making this dish.
I make it different every time. Sometimes I add anchovies depending on the sausage I am using.

Here is the best Orrechiette w/ Sausage and Broccoli. I promise.

1 lb. of orechiette (little ears) pasta, cooked as per directions
1 lb. of the best Italian sausage (hot or sweet), casings removed
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup of pasta water

olive oil to coat the pan

In a large heavy skillet, coat the pan with olive oil on medium heat.
Add sausage and garlic. Break up sausage w/ wooden spoon while cooking.

I blanch my broccoli for 2 minutes in boiling water to get it started and set it aside.

When the sausage is cooked, add your broccoli florets, hot pepper flakes and chicken stock and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until the broccoli is nice and soft and you can break it into tiny pieces with the back of a wooden spoon and most of the liquid is absorbed.

Cook your pasta according to directions. Add your cooked orechiette to the sausage and broccoli mixture and mix in the 1 cup of pasta water.
*Don't forget to save 1 cup of your pasta water (that has happened to me many times, I drain my pasta and forget about that good starchy water!).
This will thicken up the sauce.

Now you are done.

You can add freshly grated parmesan cheese if you like, but it doesn't need another thing.


Anonymous said…
i am def. NOT a broccoli rabe hater. i love it... could eat it every day. but i do understand if people think it's bitter cause it is.

i think regular broccoli is a great sub as long as there is plenty of garlic in the dish. also, i bet roasting the broccoli first would be good too to give it a bit of that roasted crunch.
SarahB said…
yum! Love the healthy portions of sausage! AND the idea of adding anchovy to this dish!
kat said…
This is one we make all the time too though we add a can of fire roasted tomatoes, yum!
Lori Lynn said…
Hi Stace - Sounds like a perfect homey dinner. I like how the sausage pieces nestle themselves in the little ears.

P.S. Is there a copy of the beet recipe from Australia you mentioned on my blog anywhere online?
Foodiewife said…
I think that you I can just make my meal plan on your blog alone. I have all of these ingredients. A very pretty and simple looking dish, but I can tell that it's delish. Thanks for solving my "what's for dinner" dilemna. LOVE broccoli!

I admit to being one of the anti-rabe folks, but I often find a nice spicy sausage mitigates the bitterness nicely, so I've actually enjoyed dishes like this with broccoli rabe.

That being said, I'd still prefer it your way. ;-)
Bob said…
That looks awesome, I love sausage and broccoli. Crap, I need to make something for PPN!
Always on the lookout for pasta dishes with veggies, that way you feel like you are eating something healthy with your plate of carby goodness.
Mila said…
Ohhhh I love this! Looks like my type of dinner :)
The Food Hunter said…
Thanks for sharing this recipe with Presto Pasta Nights. It looks great. I am a rabe eater!
Peter M said…
Up here, we call it Rapini, and that name came from the Paisans up here.

I lurve rapini, broccoli and I here ya on the over cooking part...the florets break up and become part of the sauce.
Anonymous said…
It looks delicious! My hubby doesn't like the rabe either...
Anonymous said…
Broccoli rabe is a funny thing.. sometimes is bitter sometimes it's not. I like it anyway! Never realized orechiette meant little ears.. all these years learning Latin were worthless. Damnit!
Melissa said…
Yay Presto Pasta Nights!

And yeah, this is a great standby meal. The broccoli is an easy sub for those bitter greens haters (NOT ME!). I made it last year with the broccoli rabe and definitely liked it more than Steve did.

Looks great Stace!
The bitter the better for me! This is a great dish Stace. You've done it again!
Anonymous said…
i love this sort of dish - i think there is an almost identical recipe on my blog!
Anonymous said…
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