Gemelli with Rapini, Sausage and Raisins

January 12, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe (rapini) and sausage is a classic southern Italian dish that I have loved for years. This is my spin on the classic that trades Gemelli for orecchiette for its more toothsome bite, adds plump golden raisins for little pockets of sweetness, and pine nuts for a vein of earthy crunch. To assuage the kid's palates, I make mine with sweet Italian sausage amped with a touch of red pepper flakes. If you prefer it a bit spicier, by all means substitute hot Italian sausage.

Oui, Chef

Serves: 6-8


  • 1 pound Gemelli Pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 bunch rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth reduced by half to 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • freshly peeled parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
In This Recipe


  1. Set a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. Place low-sodium chicken stock in a pan and reduce by half to 1 cup, add dry white wine and reserve.
  3. Lightly toast pine nuts in a dry skillet, reserve.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When shimmering, squeeze sausages from their casings, dropping bite-sized pieces in the hot skillet to saute, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausages to a bowl, leaving behind the drippings in the skillet.
  5. Cook the pasta to producers instructions for al dente.
  6. Trim the ends, wash, dry, and cut the brocolli rabe into 1-1/2” pieces. Add to the drippings in the skillet and saute over medium-high heat until wilted and just starting to take color. Add the sliced garlic and pepper flakes and cook 1-2 minutes, add the reduced chicken broth, wine, and raisins and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the broccoli rabe is just starting to soften, but still has a nice bite to it.
  7. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet, chuck in a few large knobs of butter and the pine nuts, and toss to combine. Check seasoning for salt and pepper, and serve topped with ribbons of freshly peeled parmesan.

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Italian|Pork|Sausage|Vegetable|Raisin|Pine Nut|Serves a Crowd|Entree

Reviews (7) Questions (0)

7 Reviews

Midge November 27, 2010
I made this again the night before Thanksgiving for guests and everyone raved. Thanks for a super recipe Steve!
Author Comment
Oui, C. December 14, 2010
Glad you liked it Midge and thanks for the lovely comments. Been a while since I've made this, I'll have to have it again soon. - S
Midge May 26, 2010
Really enjoyed this for dinner last night, with a lovely rose. Scrumptious, even in 90-degree heat! Anxiously awaiting lunchtime leftovers.
Rhonda35 January 15, 2010
This sounds fantastic! Can't wait to try it.
Food B. January 14, 2010
I too love the combination of sausage, broccoli rabe, and raisins. For me, this is comfort food. Your dish looks amazing!
TasteFood January 12, 2010
I love this combination too. The addition of raisins and pine nuts is brilliant.
Author Comment
Oui, C. January 13, 2010
Thanks. It is absolutely one of my favorite dishes, in fact, I usually siphon off a serving before feeding it to my family to ensure myself some to reheat for lunch the next day (shhh....please don't tell).