Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Broccoli Rabe with Sausage and Orrechiette
These "little ears" don't do any listening at all . . . they just sit quietly and lap up all the spice of the sausage and the gentle bite of the broccoli rabe in this dish. The way that Italians named pasta is so intriguing, isn't it? Orecchiettte is such a pretty sounding word. (One of these days, I'm going to buy Rosetta Stone and learn Italian; I'll have to if I'm ever going to get there.)
Even though the word means "little ears," to me they kind of look like the helmets American soldiers wore in World War I. (I have World War I on the brain, because I'm getting ready to teach "All Quiet on the Western Front" to high school sophomores. Did I hear you say, "Good luck with that."?)
Whatever they're called, or whatever they look like, they are the perfect vehicle for this cargo of sausage and greens. A shake of crushed red pepper, a bit of Parmesan cheese and dinner's ready. Whenever I find this pasta, I sock it away in the pantry. And whenever I find broccoli rabe (sometimes called rapini) at the market, I buy it -- and I make this. Fresh and fast for a weeknight meal.
There are a lot of ways to prepare this dish, which is pretty traditional. I prefer to dunk the rabe in a pot of boiling salted water and then shocking it in ice water. A bit of hassle that's worth it. (Thanks for teaching me that, Lynn.)
Make this orecchiette and listen for the kudos
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons salt
2 bunches broccoli rabe (about 1 pound)
8 ounces orrecchiette
1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage
2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
crushed red pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli rabe. Cook the greens briefly, just a minute or two. Remove with tongs to a large container filled with ice water. Swish around for a minute or two and remove to a colander. Chop into about two inch pieces.
Bring the same water to a oil and add the pasta. Cook for about 8 minutes and drain, but reserve some of the pasta water.
Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat, breaking it up as you go. Reduce the heat and add the broccoli rabe and saute together for a minute. Add the pasta and combine. Add pasta water, if needed. Stir in the cheese, sprinkle with the pepper and serve.