Pasta With Italian Sausage & Broccoli Rabe
March 09, 2019
"Orecchiette, pasta resembling “little ears,” is the classic choice for this dish; its cup-like shape is ideal for catching bits of the broccoli rabe. If you can't find orecchiette, campanelle is a good substitute."
- Serving Size: 1 (374.1 g)
- Calories 736.6
- Total Fat - 35.4 g
- Saturated Fat - 10.4 g
- Cholesterol - 53.3 mg
- Sodium - 893 mg
- Total Carbohydrate - 85.2 g
- Dietary Fiber - 15.4 g
- Sugars - 3.2 g
- Protein - 24.4 g
- Calcium - 206.5 mg
- Iron - 3.4 mg
- Vitamin C - 164.5 mg
- Thiamin - 0.5 mg
In a medium bowl, combine the sausage with ⅓ cup water. Stir with a fork until well combined; set aside.
In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the orecchiette, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes; the pasta should be tender at the edges but still quite firm at the center.
Drain in a colander set in a large heat-safe bowl; reserve the cooking water and pasta separately.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and the garlic cloves. Cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
Remove and discard the garlic, then add the sausage. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally and breaking the meat into small pieces, until the sausage is no longer pink and begins to brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the fennel seeds, pepper flakes, half of the broccoli rabe and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water, then stir to combine. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rabe is just tender, about 3 minutes.
Stir in another 1½ cups of the reserved cooking water, the remaining broccoli rabe and the pasta, then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rabe is tender and the pasta is al dente, another 3 to 5 minutes, adding more cooking water as needed so the sauce clings to the pasta.
Turn off heat, stir in the Parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then taste and season with salt and black pepper. Serve with additional Parmesan and oil.
Tip: Don't skip mixing water into the sausage. The water loosens the sausage, making it easier to break into pieces while cooking so that it's more evenly distributed in the finished dish.
NOTE: Adding the broccoli rabe in two stages gives the dish textural interest, as some pieces will be fully tender and almost saucy, white others retain a bit of bite. To crush the fennel seeds, pulse a few times in a spice or coffee grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Once everything is in the skillet, the pan will be filled to the brim; the easiest way to stir is with two spatulas and a gentle tossing motion.
Tips & Variations
No special items needed.