Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe uses chicken sausage in place of pork sausage and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version of my favorite Italian classic pasta dish will not disappoint!!
Orecchiette pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe is one of my FAVORITE Italian pasta dishes! The combination of the slightly bitter broccoli rabe combined 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. Of course, if you want to play it safe, you may also enjoy this Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli.
My daughter Karina loves this dish! I usually make a big pot and keep the leftovers in the refrigerator to heat up for lunch or another night. You can use any pasta shape you like, whole wheat, gluten-free or even chickpea pasta would also be great. If you want to skip the pasta, you would love this Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Spiralized Parsnip Noodles!
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 have found some great homemade sausages from Italian markets, but also love Premio if you can find it.
How do you get the bitterness out of broccoli rabe?
Broccoli rabe otherwise known as rapini has a slightly bitter taste, but the bitterness mellows when you blanch it for just under two minutes. Then toss it with garlic and oil and your favorite seasoning and enjoy!
What is a good substitute for broccoli rabe?
You can substitute broccoli rabe with mustard greens or baby broccoli for a less bitter taste.
More Broccoli Rabe Recipes
- Broccoli Rabe Turkey Burgers
- Meatballs with Broccoli Rabe
- Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Garlic
- Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Spiralized Parsnip Noodles
Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
- 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 pasta, wheat or gluten-free
- 1 cup less sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 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.
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Photo credit: Jess Larson