Orecchiette con Rapini e Salsiccia (Broccoli Rabe and Sausage)

45 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • 1 pound broccoli rabe
  • 12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small chili pepper, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • Grated Pecorino Romano

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  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Wash the broccoli rabe, removing the tough stems and large leaves, and cut it into two inch sections. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for a few minutes until it’s tender but not soft. Use a wire mesh strainer to remove the broccoli rabe from the pot. Reserve the water for the pasta.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, and chili pepper. When the garlic is golden, crumble the sausage into the skillet. When it’s browned, add the broccoli rabe and salt to taste.
  4. Bring the broccoli rabe water back to a boil.
  5. Cook the pasta until al dente (about 2 minutes less than package directions). Drain, and add to the sausage and broccoli rabe mixture.
  6. Serve with grated Pecorino.

Ed's Review

She’s on the endangered species list. Maybe only a few hundred thousand left. Average age around 75, probably lost her mate, generally in a black coat, prominent proboscis, and a few errant whiskers.  At full maturity, her arms match the strength and diameter of a body builder.  By day, she gathers and prepares food for her young.  A social animal, she spends hours interacting with her kind. Her lair is as clean as it gets.  Dirt and disorder are her natural enemies.

Tragically, almost extinct, The Southern Italian Grandmother is among the proud few with the skill and patience necessary to churn out hundreds of quarter sized orecchiette, by hand, before mealtime.  Although sightings are rare, if you’re lucky, she’ll emerge from her den to shape them while sitting in front of it. Just don’t touch, or you’ll get whacked with a wooden spoon faster than you can blink an eye.

Give today to “Save the Nonna.” The world’s culinary pleasure depends on it.

Buon Appetito!

Ed Garrubbo

4 thoughts on “Orecchiette con Rapini e Salsiccia (Broccoli Rabe and Sausage)”

  1. oh, how I remember visiting a friends mother who was making them by hand! I got to make some and then we ate them! The only company that makes them like them is de cecco my husband who is from Lucania doesn`t pick them as his favorite shape but they are mine!


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