One of my all-time favorite rabe dishes is orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe and Italian sausage. Orecchiette is a typical pasta from the Southern Italian region of Apulia (at the heel of the boot on the map of Italy). Their name comes from their shape, which resembles a small ear. Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage is great example of Southern Italian comfort food and one of my favorite pasta dishes to prepare at home.
My passion for Italian food began at an early age while working in my family’s Italian bakery and specialty foods market in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Thankfully, Tyler’s Fresh by Brookshire’s usually stocks broccoli rabe in their produce section.
Rapini, commonly marketed in the United States as broccoli raab or rabe, is perfect for fall. It is a green, cruciferous vegetable that comes from the turnip family. The edible parts are the leaves, buds and stems. The buds somewhat resemble broccoli, but they do not form a large head. Rapini go great sautéd in garlic and olive oil.
To prepare, simply wash and trim back the tough part of the stems. Quickly boil in salted water, drain and add to a pan of hot oil and browned thin slivers of garlic.
Orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe and Italian sausage:
Prepare the broccoli rabe as indicated above. When done, move the rabe to a cutting board and give them a rough chop into bite-size pieces.
In a separate pan, brown about of one pound of crumbled Italian sweet sausage in some extra virgin olive oil. At the same time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
When the sausage is fully cooked, incorporate the rabe into the pan. Drop the orecchiette in the boiling water and cook according to the package.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it. Toss the pasta with the sausage and rabe. Finish the pasta dish with a generous grating of pecorino Romano cheese and enjoy!
Carlo D’Angelo is a first-generation Italian. His love for Italian food and culture led Carlo to later make several trips to Italy to study and refine his Italian cooking skills. Carlo loves sharing his passion for Italian food and has previously taught a series of interactive Italian cooking classes through TJC’s continuing education program. When he’s not in the kitchen, Carlo is a criminal defense attorney representing clients charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes throughout East Texas and North Texas.
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