This recipe always brings me back to the days of meatless Fridays. The smell of the cooking broccoli rabe was pungent but the end result was rewarding. We would use LaRosa pasta and cut out the little square which when accumulated to a certain number could be redeemed for a dish with a floral design on it.
2 ANCHOVY FILLETS – rinsed
¼ CUP EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 TB LEMON JUICE
4 GRALIC CLOVES – minced
1 LB ORECCHIETTE – or your favorite
RED PEPPER FLAKES – to taste
8 OZ ITALIAN SAUSAGE – casings removed, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 LB BROCCOLI RABE – trimmed, cut into ¼ – inch pieces
1 CUP CHICKEN BROTH
1 ½ TBS BUTTER – unsalted
½ CUP FRESHLY GRATED CHEESE – your favorite
EXTRA GRATED CHEESE FOR SPRINKLING
Using the back of a spoon, smash anchovies on a cutting board into a smooth paste. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice, anchovy paste and 1 teaspoon garlic in a bowl and set aside.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring until the pasta is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta and return to the pot.
White the pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add sausage and cook stirring until browned and cooked. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate topped with a paper towel. Leave the sausage drippings in the pan.
Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, remaining garlic and pepper flakes to the skillet and cook stirring until fragrant. Increase heat to high and add half of the rabe and cook stirring often until wilted. Add remaining broccoli rabe and a pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally until crisp and tender. Transfer broccoli rabe to a colander set in a bowl.
Bring broth and ¼ cup of reserved pasta water to a boil in the now empty skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until reduced to about 1 cup – 4 to 6 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and whisk in butter and reserved anchovy mixture. Add sauce, broccoli rabe, sausage and freshly grated cheese to the orecchiette and toss to combine. Add remaining cooking water, as needed, to adjust consistency. Serve immediately in bowls, passing extra cheese, to sprinkle on individual bowls.