Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Rabe & Italian Turkey Sausage

This is one of my favorite pasta recipes when I can find broccoli rabe in my grocery store.  Peck’s had some beautiful bunches of it last week so I just had to buy some.   The recipe I make is based on Giada De Laurentis’ which uses Orecchiette pasta…I usually use a whole wheat or whole grain penne.   It’s easy, delicious and healthy!


  • 1-2 bunches broccoli rabe (depending on size), stems trimmed and cut into 3 inch pieces.
  • 1 lb (more or less) of dry pasta (I use whole grain/wheat penne or orecchiette)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt (for cooking water)
  • 1 pound turkey Italian-style sausage, casings removed (if pre-cooked cut into 1/2″ slices)
  • 2-3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced shallots (optional)
  • Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Chicken stock (I use Better Than Bouillon so I can make just what I need)
  • Large bowl of ice water


Cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 1-2 minutes.  (DO NOT skip this step as it keeps the broccoli rabe from tasting bitter).  Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water to cool.  Don’t forget to save the cooking water.  Put the broccoli rabe on a kitchen towel to drain and gently squeeze out any excess water.

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into pieces with a spoon, until it’s no longer pink and juices form, about 12 minutes (if you’re using pre-cooked sausage the time will be much shorter). Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the reserved cooking water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Add the broccoli rabe to the pan with the sausage mixture and toss to coat with the juices.  Add the pasta to the skillet and mix.  If mixture seems dry, add a little chicken stock.   Stir in the Parmesan and serve immediately.



The image Orecchiette, Spicy Pork Sausage, Broccoli Rabe by Susan Lucas Hoffman is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) License.

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