Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Written by CMP on July 07, 2008
Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage

For a while in the late 1990S I worked on West 19th Street in Manhattan. A few doors down from the office was a small, unassuming, Italian restaurant called Portfolio that was steady and reliable. For some reason, their preparation of Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage always gave me a warm cozy feeling inside. Italian comfort food, if you will.

Recently, I started working in the old neighborhood again and Portfolio's is still there. I haven't been back to eat yet but I've been craving those little ears so I decided to make it myself.


  • 1 LB Orecchiette Pasta
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium Sweet Italian Sausages, removed from casings
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, diced
  • 1 Bunch Broccoli Rabe, rinsed, bottom 1/3 trimmed off and discarded, then cut in half
  • 3/4 Cup Low Sodium, Fat Free Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 Tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1/2 Tbs Unsalted Butter
  • 6-7 Fresh Sage Leaves, diced
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese for serving

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions. Cook to just before Al Dente as you'll be finishing the pasta in the sauce. If you prepare the pasta in advance of the sauce, drain and apply a light coating of olive oil to avoid sticking.

Heat Olive Oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add sausage (removed from casing) and cook till well browned on all sides (about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally). As the sausage cooks, break it up with a wooden spoon to get pieces about the diameter of a nickel.

When sausage is done, remove from pan (leaving cooking oil behind) and add garlic to the pan. Cook garlic for 30 seconds (stirring the whole time, the pan will still be hot), then add the broccoli rabe. Toss broccoli so it gets coated with oil in the pan, then add the chicken stock and chili flakes. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook for 7-8 minutes to allow the broccoli to steam.

Remove the broccoli from the pan and continue to cook the sauce, uncovered, till it reduces by about 1/4. Stir in butter, then add cooked pasted and mix well. Continue to cook over medium heat, uncovered and stirring often, until pasta is fully cooked (about 5 minutes). Much of the remaining stock will be absorbed by the pasta as it cook.

Mix in chopped sage, salt and pepper to taste, and serve with Parmesan cheese.

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