The Orecchiette with sausage and rapini. Rapini or what is sometimes known as broccoli rabe closely resembles broccoli but is not a broccoli derivative at all but is actually, closely related to the turnip family. It is a little bitter and a favorite in Italian recipes. Orecchiette is a pasta that is a favorite from Puglia and gets its name because it is shaped like little ears.
SERVING: Serves 3-4
- 1 lb. orecchiette – or your favorite
- 1 lb Italian sausage – sweet or hot
- 1 bunch green onions
- 3-4 tb. extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper – freshly ground to taste
- ¼ cup freshly grated cheese – your favorite
- 1 lb rapini – trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves – sliced
- Pinch of salt – to taste
- Red pepper flakes – to taste
- Cut the sausage into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal. Trim about ½-inch off the bottom of the rapini, wash thoroughly and roughly chop.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water blanch the rapini for a quick 3 minutes, remove and place in an ice bath for a few minutes, drain, shake off excess water, set aside.
- Using the same water, cook the pasta until just al dente.
- In a large pan, cook the sausage until brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Using the same pan, do not wipe, add the olive oil, and sauté the onions, garlic and red pepper for just a few minutes without burning the garlic.
- Add the rapini and sauté for an additional few minutes. Add the sausage, mix well, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a large serving bowl, mix together the pasta and the sausage/rapini mixture. Add to individual serving bowls.
- Pass grated cheese for sprinkling and some extra virgin olive oil.
- Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini is now ready.
NOTE: My family likes it when I add a drained can of white beans or navy beans to the dish just before serving.