Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

This recipe comes from “The Best 30 Minute Recipe.”  I like it for a lot of reasons: it’s a bit unusual; it makes a lot so there can be leftovers; it’s versatile because you can substitute various pastas, use broccoli or broccolini instead of broccoli rabe, and experiment with various flavors of sausage.

Ingredients:

8 ounces hot italian (or other) sausage, casings removed

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bunch broccoli rabe or broccolini (1 lb), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths OR 2 lbs broccoli cut into 1-inch florets

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

salt and ground black pepper

1 lb orecchiette (or another type of pasta)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Boil water for pasta: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot.

2. Cook sausage: Cook sausage in 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned, breaking meat up with wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Cook broccoli rabe: Stir in broccoli rabe, chicken broth, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook until broccoli rabe turns bright green, about 2 minutes (if using broccolini or broccoli florets, this will tkae more time).  Uncover and continue to cook until the broth is nearly evaporated and broccoli rabe is tender about 2 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat, cover, and set aside.

4. Cook and drain pasta: Add orecchiette and1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dent.  Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain orecchiette and return orecchiette to pot.

5. Toss pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe: Stir oil, Parmesan, and sausage mixture into orecchiette.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding reserved past cooking water as needed to loosen sauce.  Serve immediately.

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