Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

I love pasta!  So many wonderful shapes and sizes to choose from.  And, there are limitless possibilities for transforming a simple box of pasta into a delicious meal that can beautifully showcase a few ingredients.

I decided to take a look in “Everyday Italian,” Giada De Laurentiis’ cookbook, for an easy weeknight pasta dish.  I found this super simple orecchiette with turkey sausage and broccoli rabe recipe.

A few notes…I used spicy Italian turkey sausage because I think the heat of the sausage goes nicely with the broccoli rabe.  But I am sure sweet Italian sausage would nicely complement the bitterness of the rabe.

Don’t forget to salt the rabe/pasta water.  It really makes a difference.

Reserving the pasta water is key.  The starch in the water helps the sauce thicken.  I put a few ladles of the cooking water into a measuring cup before draining the pasta.

Tim and I both loved this dish and it couldn’t have been easier to make.

Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Giada De Laurentiis

  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems trimmed
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound turkey Italian-style sausage, casings removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 1 minute. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water to cool, saving the cooking water. Bring the reserved cooking water back to a boil. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into pieces with a spoon, until browned and juices form, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, when the reserved cooking water is boiling, add the orecchiette and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Strain the broccoli rabe and add it to the pan with the sausage mixture and toss to coat with the juices. Add the pasta to the skillet. Stir in the Parmesan and serve immediately.

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