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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
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