Craving Broccoli Rabe with Sausage and Orecchiette Pasta

Let me tell you Lisa and I are loving the rapini kick. This delicious combination of flavors is so perfectly balanced.

Broccoli Rabe with Sausage and Orecchiette pasta is pure comfort food for me. The slightly bitter broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic and sweet sausage has a wonderful enticing taste, and the orecchiette pasta (which translates from Italian to English as “little ears”) holds the juices like little cups and lets the flavor of this dish explode in every mouthful!

Broccoli Rabe or Rapini is a common vegetable in the cuisines of southern Europe.  Despite its name, it is not related to broccoli, but rather is related to the mustard plant.

Our local Mexican supermarkets have wonderful varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables, and, as you can see in the photo above, almost every ingredient necessary to make authentic Mexican cuisine, but our favorite vegetable, broccoli rabe, was nowhere to be found!  Thankfully, when asked, the produce manager at Cardenas (San Jose, CA) told us they could order special order it for us, and about once a week we will finally have a supply to cook.

Preparing this dish is really easy…I slice about a pound of sweet Italian sausage and saute them in olive oil in a skillet until cooked. Meanwhile, I begin to boil water for the pasta. I wash and drain a pound and a half of broccoli rabe well and cut off the ends and any hard, woody pieces of the stems, and then chop it well. To the cooked sausage I add chopped garlic to taste, a few tablespoons of Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper to taste, and about a teaspoon of dried red pepper. Next, I add the broccoli rabe and a few extra teaspoons of olive oil, if needed, and saute till the broccoli rabe is cooked and tender. I add the orecchiette pasta to the boiling salted water and cook as per directions on the package. When cooked al dente I drain the pasta, but reserve about a cup of pasta water. I now add the pasta to the skillet and mix well over medium heat.  Add the reserved pasta water, (you can also use chicken broth), as needed, to moisten the entire contents of the skillet.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!

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