Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

A classic recipe and one of my absolute favorites. I order this at Strada 18 in Norwalk almost every time we go and I finish the entire ginormous bowl. It does cost $18 however so this Saturday night I thought we could save some money and still enjoy a delicious meal at home. I was right! (Post updated with new photos 3.23.17)

After a trip to Fresh Market in Westport, the broccoli rabe was $4, the orecchiette was $2 and the hot italian sausage was $4.50. So, two of us will enjoy this meal for only $11, or $5.50 per person AND we will get to have the delicious left overs tomorrow for lunch.

I like a little spice so I opted for a hot Italian sausage but you can certainly go sweet if that is your preference (or do 1 of each!). Those who are trying to stay on the healthier side can opt for a fennel chicken sausage which would be a great substitute. But for a Saturday night dinner, I’m going all out, no substitutions please!!

Kyle’s review of the night: “This is the best pasta dish you have ever made, ever. It has the perfect amount of heat, the flavor is incredible, the bread crumbs add such a nice crunch and this is superior to restaurant quality!”


  • 1/3 cup or so of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. orecchiette
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs and/or whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe
  • 2 links Italian hot sausage, 2 links chicken sausage removed from casings
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt & Pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until the stems are tender, roughly 2 to 3 minutes. This takes some of the bitter bite out of the broccoli. Then put in a strainer and set aside.

In a pan over medium-low heat, warm 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and stir to coat them with the oil. Season lightly with salt and cook, stirring often, until the crumbs are an even, deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. I added in some fresh chopped parsley I had on hand.20120310-221830.jpg


In your pan warm olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, garlic and red pepper flakes and break up the sausage meat with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned, about 7 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and stir to combine with the sausage. Season with salt.


Add the pasta to the boiling water until al dente. (The pasta will absorb the vitamins and minerals from the broccoli and take on some extra flavor which is nice!) After you put your pasta in, add your chopped broccoli to the pan.


When the pasta is ready add to your saute pan (reserve some of the water in case you need to add it in). Add cheese and stir well over low heat to combine. Top with the bread crumbs, cheese and maybe a drizzle of more good quality olive oil and serve.

Mangia! Buon Appetito!
Here’s our dog Kona taking a nap while we eat. So cute I had to share.

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