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In episode 4 of Money on the Table, we enjoyed one of favorite Italian dishes; orecchiette, broccoli raab and Italian sausage. It’s one of those simple, hearty meals that fills the belly and warms the soul. It’s also a break from the norm and a reminder that not every Italian meal is served with a tomato sauce. So if you’ve never experienced the tangy, sharp wonder that brocolli raab/rapini and you’re looking to switch up pasta night, enjoy this recipe at home.


Orechiette, Brocolli Raab and Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

  • Orechiette pasta, 1 box
  • Italian sausage (1 sweet, 1 spicy)
  • Brocolli raab/rapini, 2 bunches
  • Brocollini, 1 bunch
  • Garlic, cloves, sliced
  • Onion, small, diced
  • Romano or Pecorino cheese, 1 cup
  • Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter

Directions:

  1. Add water to a large pot and season heavily with salt. Bring to a boil
  2. Small dice onion and finely slice the garlic cloves. Set aside in a separate bowl
  3. Rinse the brocolli raab under cold water to remove any sand/sediment that may be trapped in the leaves.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente in the water. Strain and cool down the water but retain the pasta water. You can do this easily by using a bamboo strainer.
  5. Next, blanche the brocolli raab in the boiling water used for the pasta for 1 minute.
  6. Immediately shock [rapidly cool down] the brocolli raab in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cool, remove from the water and gently squeeze dry on a dry towel.
  7. Next, using the same water you cooked the pasta and brocolli raab in to blanche the brocollini. Shock the brocollini in ice cold water. If needed, refresh the shocking liquid with fresh ice to ensure the water is cold enough to stop the cooking process. Remove from the water and dry the vegetables with a towel. Reserve the water. Do NOT throw it away.
  8. Once vegetables are dry, dice them (small) and set in a bowl.
  9. Using a knife, split the sausage skin and remove from it’s casing. Set aside in a separate prep bowl
  10. Add onion and garlic to a large saute pan on medium-high heat with extra virgin olive oil. Stir so as to not allow the onion or garlic to brown.
  11. Next, add the sausage and cook until the sausage is 80% done. Avoid getting a hard sear on the sausage by stirring frequently.
  12. Add the diced broccoli raab and broccolini to the pan and stir to coat the vegetables in the fat released from the sausage.
  13. Add the pasta to create a 50/50 ratio between pasta[50%] vegetable [25%] and sausage [25%] and stir to combine.
  14. Add a few ladles full of the blanching liquid to the pan with a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Stir aggressively to allow all the liquids and fats to create a light sauce that coats the noodles and vegetables.
  15. Stir in half of the cheese to melt into the liquid and add remaining cheese over the top of the pasta
  16. If you want your pasta to have a little kick, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flake

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