I am a huge fan of the Barefoot Contessa Cookbooks by Ina Garten and I have slowly been dipping into the recipes of her new book called Foolproof. Her recipes almost never disappoint me and this one was very good. I modified it a bit for my family from the recipe she called Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage on page 152 of her book. (I once heard that Orecchiette means “little ears”. They kind of do look like “little ears” don’t they?)
Today was the second time I made it. The first time I made it I followed the recipe to the letter including the broccoli rabe. Although I served it on the side. She mixes it into the finished dish. Well, the broccoli rabe didn’t go over so well with the family. I personally loved it. It is a bit on the more bitter side as far as vegetables go but since regular broccoli is probably my favorite vegetable, I loved the broccoli rabe too. If you have picky vegetable eaters at your house you might want to keep it on the side too. But give it a try, it’s a delicious and very nutritious vegetable.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
or as it is known is our house:
Pasta with Sausage
1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage (2 links)
1/2 pound hot Italian pork sausage (2 links)
1/3 cup olive oil ( I only used about 1/4 cup.)
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced. (I used my garlic press.)
2 (14.5 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano. (I used one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes.)
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste ( I left this ingredient out.)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 pound dried orecchiette pasta
2 bunches broccoli rabe (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the sausages with a fork and place them on a cookie sheet lined with foil. (Makes clean up much easier.) Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. (I roasted mine for a full 30 minutes.) Let cool and slice into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the sausage slices and saute for 5 minutes. ( I did not do this because my sausages were fully cooked from extending their time in the oven to 30 minutes. If you do not cook yours for the extended time, then do not skip this step.) Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the red wine, (tomato paste, remember I skipped this ingredient), 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper and let the mixture simmer over low heat while you prepare the pasta and broccoli rabe.
Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. The orecchiette that I made took 12 minutes. Cook your broccoli rabe in a separate pot. I steamed mine in a couple inches of water till tender.
If you want to prepare the recipe as the Barefoot Contessa intended with the broccoli rabe mixed into the finished dish, then you can cook the broccoli rabe with the pasta. Her is how she did it:
Bring a very large pot half filled with water and add 1 Tbsp. of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes exactly. While the pasta is cooking, trim the broccoli rabe to just below the leaves and discard the stems, Cut the leafy part of the broccoli rabe crosswise in 2 inch pieces. When the pasta has cooked for 9 minutes, add the broccoli rabe to the pasta and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the past is al dente and broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain in a large colander reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta and broccoli to the pot with the tomato and sausage mixture. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon salt. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Taste for seasonings, and serve hot with extra Parmesan on the side.
This is a man pleasing and hearty dish!! Enjoy!
And before I go, do you write in your cookbooks? As you can see I do. I write down how everyone liked it, the date of when I made it, and also any changes that I might have made to the recipe. This helps me out a lot. And it’s kind of fun when you pull out an old cookbook and see the notes you made about something you might have forgot even making!