Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

If you are a pasta lover and appreciate the slight bitterness of broccoli rabe, you’re sure to love this dish.  Orecchiette are round indented circles of pasta that resemble “little ears.”  Be sure to buy the best quality Italian sausage.

Ingredients:

1 bunch broccoli rabe, I inch of bottom stem cut off

1 lb. orecchiette (little ears) pasta

4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t crushed red paper flakes

3 links Italian sweet sausage, casings removed and broken up

3 links Italian hot sausage, casings removed and broken up

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmegiano Reggiano cheese, divided

Procedure:

In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the broccoli rabe for 3 minutes. Scoop out of the water and drain.  Cut stalks into thirds and set aside.  In the same pot of boiling water, cook orecchiette according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, pour 2 T olive oil into a 12-inch skillet.  When moderately hot, add garlic and crushed pepper flakes.  Let garlic become fragrant but not colored.  Add sausage and sauté until sausage is cooked through.

Drain pasta but save a cup of pasta water.  Add pasta and broccoli rabe to skillet and mix with sausage.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and just enough pasta water to loosen mixture.  Sprinkle with a half cup cheese and mix again. Pour a thin stream of 2 T olive oil over top. Serve additional cheese on the side.   Serves 4 to 6..

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