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
sweet Italian sausage
rapini (broccoli rabe)
low-sodium chicken broth reduced by half to 1 cup
dry white wine
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
red pepper flakes
pine nuts, lightly toasted
freshly peeled parmesan cheese
kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Set a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
- Place low-sodium chicken stock in a pan and reduce by half to 1 cup, add dry white wine and reserve.
- Lightly toast pine nuts in a dry skillet, reserve.
- 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.
- Cook the pasta to producers instructions for al dente.
- 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.
- 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.