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Author Notes: This might be my favorite Sunday night dinner, hands down. The reason it's a Sunday night dinner? The fresh pasta. Be not afraid, people. It's not hard. It just takes a little more time than most people have on a weeknight. There's something so rustic and homey about hand shaped pasta. Not to mention gratifying...you're sure to get an extra pat on the back for this one. - Meredith Shanley
Orecciette (Little Ears) Pasta
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups semolina flour
- AP Flour for dusting
- Add salt to warm water.
- In a steady stream, add semolina to salted water, while stirring with a fork.
- When a loose ball forms, turn out onto a floured countertop and knead until satiny and smooth, about 8 minutes.
- Rest dough for 20 minutes under the overturned bowl.
- After 20 minutes, remove dough from bowl and cut into 4 pieces. Place three pieces back under bowl, and roll one into a long thin rope.
- On a floured tea towel (not terry cloth), cut rope into 1/2 inch pieces. Using your thumb, gently press each piece into a round "little ear" shape. Remove to another floured tea towel, rest in a single layer.
- Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Make sure formed pasta is resting in a single layer. Let dry about 30 minutes while you make the sauce.
For the "Sauce"
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 handful yellow raisins
- 1 pound bulk Italian sweet sausage
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- While pasta is drying, bring a large pot well salted water to a boil.
- Trim ends of broccoli rabe by about 1/2 an inch. Submerge into boiling water, blanch about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse rabe immediately with cold water to stop cooking.
- Refill same pot with water, salt well, bring to boil.
- While waiting for water to boil, add olive oil to a large saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots, cook about 1 minute. Add garlic, raisins and red pepper flakes, cook about 30 seconds more.
- Add sausage to saute pan, cook through.
- Finally, add blanched broccoli rabe. Season with salt and pepper.
- When water is boiling, add pasta. Stir briefly. When all pasta has risen to the surface of the water, drain, saving 2 tbsp of pasta water.
- Add pasta to sausage mixture, along with pasta water. Cook about 1 minute more until heated through.
- Toss in cheese along with another drizzle of olive oil. Check for seasoning and serve immediately.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Broccoli/Broccoli Rabe Dish