Broccoli rabe and hot Italian sausage with pasta, I first had this delicious blend at a small Italian restaurant in New York City. My friend and I sat at a table so small, our bottle was place in a bucket on the ground.It did not matter, the food was delicious. New York is famous for it outdoor cafe’s.Much of this is simply setting tables out on the sidewalk, it does not matter how small the restaurant or the outside space. Still this allows diners to people-watch while enjoying their meal.
I later learned the pasta traditionally used is called orecchiette meaning, I believe, “little ears.” I have always thought of these little pasta’s as “thumb prints”, it is excellent for this very special recipe. I add sweet peas to the recipe because it cuts the slight bitterness of the broccoli rabe.
1-˝ to 2 pounds of broccoli rabe, chopped coarsely
8 ounces orecchiette pasta*
1 pound Italian hot sausage links*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 box frozen sweet peas, defrosted
1-1/2 ounces finely grated Romano cheese (if desired)
Add chopped broccoli rabe to pot of boiling salted water. Cook for about 8 minutes. Remove broccoli rabe from water immediately to keep from continuing to cook. Set aside.
Use same water to cook pasta. Bring to boil again and add pasta, cook until al dente, about 10 minutes or so. Remove pasta from water and set aside. As always keep some the pasta water in case it is needed later.
In large skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced sausage or broken sausage pieces from casings. Cook until almost done, add chopped broccoli rabe until sausage is completely done. Add chicken stock and cooked pasta, blend well. Cook until pasta is tender, sauce will thicken a just a little. Add sweet peas, mix gently, cover for about 5 minutes, just to heat the peas. Serve in wide shallow soup bowls. Top with grated cheese if desired.
Makes about 6 servings.
* I use De Cecco brand orecchiette pasta, it comes in a 16 ounce box.
* The Italian sausage links can be cut fairly thin on the bias or removed from casings.