Orecchiette with Italian Sausage

 and Broccoli Rabe

This is adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' Food Network recipe


  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 12 ounces), stems trimmed 
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken Italian-style sausage, casings removed (I like the lean ones at Trader Joes)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Essential Tomato Sauce


Cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer  to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, saving the cooking water. Bring the reserved cooking water back to a boil. 

Prepare tomato sauce.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, garlic and chili flakes and cook, breaking it up into pieces with a spoon, until browned. 

Meanwhile cook the orecchiette until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. 

Strain the broccoli rabe and add it to the pan with the sausage mixture and toss to coat with the juices. Add 3-4 cups tomato sauce and stir to combine.

Strain pasta and transfer to a serving bowl. Add sauce and Parmesan and serve immediately.

Essential Tomato Sauce

Puree one 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in a food mill.

In a medium saucepan, heat 2-4 T olive oil over medium heat. Add:

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed a bit
  • pinch chili flakes

Let the garlic brown gently on both sides. 

Add the pureed tomatoes to the saucepan.

Simmer gently for about 15 minutes. The sauce will change in color from red to an orange.

Add kosher salt, to taste and serve.

copyright 2008-2013 Katie Fairbank