Apr 18, 2011

Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe



Broccoli rabe and Italian chicken sausage are tossed with orecchiette (otherwise know as little ears because of their shape) and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version will not disappoint!!

Pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe is one of my favorite Italian pasta dishes. The combination of the broccoli rabe with the garlic, red pepper flakes, Parmigiano Reggiano and sausage makes my taste buds do the happy dance!! If you've never had it, step out of your comfort zone and give it a try.



Broccoli rabe otherwise known as rapini has a slightly bitter taste, but the bitterness mellows when you blanch it for just under two minutes. The photos really didn't do this dish justice, we were so hungry and the lighting was poor, that I rushed through the photos and we had no leftovers. Even my picky kids, one year old and teenager both loved this. You can use any pasta shape you like, low carb or whole wheat would also be great.

They key to this dish is finding a great tasting chicken or turkey sausage. I recommend trying a few brands, not all are equal in taste and the lean factor. I found an incredibly delicious chicken sausage with broccoli rabe at my local organic market, Wild By Nature. The flavor is outstanding, but I have had great results from Italian markets as well.




Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 6 • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups • Old Points: 6 pts • Points+: 7 pts
Calories: 289.4 • Fat: 5.3 g • Protein: 21 g • Carb: 38.7 g • Fiber: 3.7 g Sugar: 1 g

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, washed and 2" trimmed off stems
  • 1 lb lean chicken sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 oz orecchiette
  • 1 cup low sodium fat free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

Cut broccoli rabe in quarters. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it comes to a rolling boil, add broccoli rabe. Blanch for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, drain and set aside in a colander. Re-fill pot with water and salt for the pasta and bring back to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente.


In a large deep sauté pan, brown sausage on medium heat, breaking up into small pieces as it cooks. When completely cooked through set aside in a dish or a bowl.


Increase heat to medium high, add olive oil to the pan; when hot add garlic and cook until golden (don't burn). 


Return broccoli rabe to the pan, mix well with the garlic and oil, season with salt and pepper and cook about a minute.  


Return cooked sausage to the pan and mix well.


Drain pasta and add to the broccoli rabe. Reduce heat and stir for about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes if using. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and toss another 30 seconds so that everything is mixed well and the pasta is coated with the sauce. Remove from heat and add to a large pasta dish or divide equally between 6 pasta bowls. Serve with additional grated cheese if you desire.

57 comments :

  1. ehehhh this is a typical dish of my country:Puglia...well done really!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks AMAZING. I've had similar dishes at restaurants but I am sure your version is way healthier!! Stupid question- where in the grocery store do you find broccoli rabe? I can never find it at my grocery store!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's in the produce section, near the broccoli!

      Delete
  3. Would broccolini do as well? It looks like broccoli rabe but isn't bitter. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and a chinese broccoli.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rosie, yes of course that would be great, but you would have to buy a few to match the amount of broccoli rabe I used. The bunches of broccolini are so much smaller and a lot pricier.

    ReplyDelete
  5. been awhile since I visited you, so glad I did. This looks terrific! I now have your site bookmarked on my tool bar. Thanks, Gina!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I cannot find broccoli rabe anywhere in my little town (or broccolini for that matter.) What do you suggest as a replacement?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe is my all time favorite pasta dish! I just found chicken sausage with broccoli rabe in it, too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You should be able to use frozen broccoli in place of the brocolli rabe, I use it for my Gnocchoni and brocolli rabe with turkey sausage

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rebecca broccoli would work in it's place.

    Marisa, mine too!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gina, this pasta dish looks fresh, simple and fabulous! My kinda meal :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anything with broccoli rabe reminds me of my grandparents. They'd put it in everything! So now I have to try this:)

    ReplyDelete
  12. How does the sausage come packaged? I've never seen chicken sausage patties like you show in the picture at my grocery store. There's all kinds of sausage in the casings though, would that work with casings removed?

    ReplyDelete
  13. You can use the sausage in the casings. I was lucky to find them as patties which made it easier for me but I normally buy the links.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gina, I used your homemade turkey sausage recipe to make this. Delicious:-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Andrea, great idea, why didn't I suggest that :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. so beautiful and yummy. I'm so excited I found your blog. I'm a new follower, I hope you will as well. I started my blog a little over a month ago. It's all about celebrity fashion from the point of view of an LA stylist. Stop by to see multiple post a day on all the latest celebrity fashion news and check out pictures from the fall/winter preview I attended yesterday in Beverly Hills. Would love your support. xoxo

    www.fashboulevard.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just made this for my husband who loves pasta & is very suspicious of healthy recipes. Needless to say it was a huge hit. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Gina,
    Love your recipe's and thank you so much for the point value. It help's alot.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Delicious! Just made this for dinner... used pasta shells since I could not find Orecchiette. Also used Broccoli crowns instead of broccoli rabe. Came out awesome and this is definitely now one of my fav's.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'll have to try it with broccoli sometime!

    ReplyDelete
  21. i saw this in real simple and wondered how to slim it down and *poof* here it is! thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I made this tonight with zucchini because I couldn't find the broccoli rabe and the broccolini was very expensive. It was delicious. I just love this site.

    ReplyDelete
  23. as i am eating the leftovers of this for lunch today, i am thinking that even though i made it and i know the ingredients...i can't figure out what makes it so good! i swear its a restaurant quality pasta dish (and i live in ny so you know i eat a lot of good italian!) another awesome recipe...i have been living off your recipes since january - they have helped me lose the 17lbs i had gained since becoming a lifetime ww member, putting me right back under my goal! thanks gina!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Christina, I'm so glad you liked it, I too am from NY so I understand!! I love this dish, love love. Love!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is the same recipe as in "Cook This Not That" ?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't know what "cook this not that" is, a cookbook I assume? but I'm sure many people have their own rendition of this dish as it is very popular. This is my way of making it, any resemblance to this is purely coincidence.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Made this tonight. Purchased some garden veggie/mushroom/asiago chicken sausage from Trader Joe's this weekend. Could NOT find broccoli rabe, so I subbed spinach instead (and I bought romano cheese instead of reggiano ;)) So basically I can't follow directions (I DID use orecchiette, so I did one thing correctly ;-)

    It was *AMAZING*!!! This might be my favorite (and my family, including a picky 2.5 year old!) "Gina recipe," as we call them!!

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Don't feel bad, I can never follow a recipe without changing it either!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Do you have any suggestions for a broccoli rabe substitute? Maybe spinach or another green? This looks really good but rabe is a little to bitter for me :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Broccolini or Swiss chard would work!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. such a yummy recipie made it today my un healthy food fan of a BF loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  32. @Emilee - Broccoli Rabe is normally in the produce section by other greens (Spinach, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Kale) or you can find it frozen
    @Rosie - blanching the Broccoli Rabe takes the bitterness away

    I used to just grill or broil chicken sausage and toss it with roasted or steamed broccoli rabe, pasta, garlic & oil. I love that this uses broth rather than too much oil. It's even better left over.

    I have not made one thing yet from your site that I did not like and I LOVE having new ideas. Thank you for taking the time to take so many pictures to go with your descriptions.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm so happy you enjoyed them!

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is my second time cooking your recipes and this turned out great! I couldn't find broccoli rabe here but used Swiss chard instead and it was delish! Well done Gina!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Might be a stupid question - but should I be using fresh/raw sausage or does cooked sausage (as packed in the deli section) work?

    ReplyDelete
  36. How would Italian chicken sausage taste?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Chicken or turkey would be great, but not all sausages taste the same, so it you may have to try a few until you find one you like.

    ReplyDelete
  38. My sweetie and I made this for dinner last night. It was really tasty! We weren't able to find broccoli rabe, so we substituted hald broccolini and hald dandelion leaves (for bitterness) -- turned out great, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  39. This is a favorite in our home now! We substitute the broccoli rabe with spinach, because the hubby isn't a fan. We add quite a bit of red pepper for an extra kick!

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Does the sausage come as "lean" sausage? Or can I buy regular sausage from our deli?

    ReplyDelete
  41. if you all can not find a turkey sausage you like you can make your own. it is super easy and quick. here is my favorite recipe.
    1 Lb. ground chicken or turkey or pork
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 Tbsp. salt
    1/4 Tbsp. pepper
    1/4 Tbsp. fennel seeds
    1/2 Tbsp.chopped parsely
    1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
    2/3 tsp. majoram

    mix all ingredients together and lets flavors mixand marinate in the fridge 2 hours then you can use or freeze for later use.
    I form it in little balls, cook through in skillet, steamer or oven then keep them in the freezer to use in recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thanks this was a great meal and as my husband said it satisfied both of us, my love of pasta and his love of sausage! I also had 3 left over servings for lunches and ate my last one yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Just made this and it was AMAZING. So easy and simple but exceeded our expectations for deliciousness. Added plenty of crushed red pepper :) Thank you for yet another winner!

    Also had to sub broccoli and turkey sausage (availability) and also switched out the pasta for whole wheat rotini, because we much prefer the taste of whole wheat pasta and can't find it in many shapes.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Lisa losin it at WW!1/22/12, 2:46 PM

    Trying this tonight. We will report tomorrow

    ReplyDelete
  45. Did you make this with regular pasta? Or smart taste? Just wondering for points purposes. Thanks so much I LOVE your recipes :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. So Yummy! Even my almost 3 year old ate it. He Picked out the "green stuff"! So Good and blanching the Rabe really cut back on the bitterness. I could only find full fat chicken sausage and low fat turkey so I used the turkey. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I know you are a Trader Joe's fan, I make this with the TJ Sweet Basil Pesto chicken and turkey sausage. YUMMMMMMM So much flavor and the kids love it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I made this for dinner tonight. It was great! Thank you Gina.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I'm new to this site (a co-worker pointed me here) and I'm so impressed so far. This is the 3rd recipe I've made and it was absolutely delicious!!! I look forward to many more. Thanks - Irene

    ReplyDelete
  50. Made thousand it was yummy! Even better than the BF's version but shhhh...don't tell him!

    ReplyDelete
  51. This was a delicious meal! We used spicy sausage and the heat with the flavors of the pesto and broccoli rabe were perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  52. My husband said he could eat this every night! I love it too. Very "brothy." Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  53. OMG, this was sooooooo good. Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  54. WowintheKitchen10/11/14, 7:07 PM

    A really delicious recipe! I got prechopped broccoli rabe and blanched it for a bit longer than you called for because we like it a bit softer. I also added a touch of the chicken broth in the last few steps of combining ingredients when I felt the broccoli rabe-sausage combo was drying out. It was really tasty!

    ReplyDelete

If you really like a post please share, like on FB, Stumble and give it a THUMBS UP or Pin It on Pinterest!

Comments are welcome but please keep it positive and helpful. No hyperlinks, no spam, no ads, no keywords and no personal attacks.