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Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I was hesitant to post this only because I’ve been hard on myself about the quality of the photos. For some reason I couldn’t get the lighting to work out that day. The shadows were too harsh and the colors too saturated because of the addition of cherry tomatoes. But why would I not post a good recipe because of what I think is a mediocre photo? So here you go, maybe it’s just me, but I think next time when I have lots of colorful ingredients I’ll use a more neutral plate/bowl/background.

This recipe was adapted from seriouseats.com. 

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When I picture fall I don’t really think of pumpkins or pumpkin spice that much. I like pumpkin, but I rarely cook with it. What I do think of is butternut squashes, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, stews, soups, and hearty pasta dishes. This orecchiette satisfies that pasta craving because it has just enough of that chewy al-dente quality you want in a nice hearty pasta dish. The Italian sausage is sweet and complements the bitterness of the broccoli rabe (aka rapini). And the roasted cherry tomatoes round it off with a burst of freshness from the last summer’s pick from the garden.

You can choose any sausage you’d like for this recipe. I made it with sweet Italian sausage because my kids freak out whenever there’s a hint of spice in anything (even though they’ll happily pop flamin cheetos or spicy doritos or bowls of curry, but I’ll never understand young kids’ food preferences). You can use spicy sausage if that’s your preference. I had a dish of red pepper flakes on the table for anyone who wanted to increase the heat in their individual bowls.

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They didn’t offer ground sausage at our Kroger that day (weird, right?) so all I did was buy the links, squeeze them out of the tubing and crumble them using a spatula in the pot as they browned. But if you can find ground sausage, great. Use as many cherry tomatoes you want for this recipe. I had half a pint of tomatoes left in the fridge, so that’s what I used.

Broccolini is also called Rapini at the grocery store, in case you have any trouble finding it (photo above for reference). It adds a bitterness to the dish, which is why its cooked with something sweeter to balance it out. I also love Italian subs stuffed with rapini sautéed in garlic, meatballs, mozzarella and tomato sauce, but that is a different recipe for a different post.

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Instructions with Photos:

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place halved cherry tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Roast for 20 minutes or until they are soft and wrinkled. Set aside.

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As your tomatoes are roasting, wash the broccoli rabe and cut the bottom stalks off. Chop to your preference.

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Heat a 2 tsp. oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.

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Add the sausage and cook, breaking it apart, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate and set aside.

DSC_8662Add half the garlic, saute for 30 seconds

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then add broccoli rabe and sauté until just beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. DSC_8673Add to plate with sausage.

Don’t you love when you buy a bunch of leafy greens and it wilts down to 4 leaves? That’s why you need a pound of it.

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Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat. If you don’t have enough for 1 Tbsp., add some olive oil.  Add the remaining garlic and pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds or until aromatic.

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Add the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

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Add the pasta and bring to a boil.

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Cook until al dente, approximately 7 to 9 minutes.

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Add broccoli rabe and sausage back into pan and continue to cook,

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stirring occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking, until pasta is fully cooked and broccoli rabe is tender (2-3 minutes).

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Remove from the heat, add roasted tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and squeeze in lemon juice. Put pasta into serving bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

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Orecchiette with Italian Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Cherry Tomatoes

October 4, 2017
: 4-6
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb. broccoli rabe, trimmed of stalks and chopped to your preference
  • 1 lb. dried orecchiette
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings discarded
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place halved cherry tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until they are soft and wrinkled. Set aside.
  • Step 2 Heat a 2 tsp. oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it apart, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate and set aside. Add half of the minced garlic, saute for 30 seconds, then add broccoli rabe and sauté until just beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add to plate with sausage. Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat. If you don’t have enough for 1 Tbsp., add some olive oil. Add remaining garlic and pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds or until aromatic.
  • Step 3 Add the broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the pasta and bring to a boil. Cook until al dente, approximately 7 to 9 minutes. Add broccoli rabe and sausage back into pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking, until pasta is fully cooked and broccoli rabe is tender (2-3 minutes).
  • Step 4 Remove from the heat, add roasted tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and squeeze in lemon juice. Put pasta into serving bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

 

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