Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

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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 uses chicken sausage in place of pork and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version 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.

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe uses chicken sausage in place of pork and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version will not disappoint!!

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.

How to make broccoli rabe with pastaOrecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe uses chicken sausage in place of pork and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version will not disappoint!!Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe uses chicken sausage in place of pork and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version will not disappoint!!Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe uses chicken sausage in place of pork and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version will not disappoint!!Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe uses chicken sausage in place of pork and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version will not disappoint!!

More Broccoli Rabe Recipes

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe uses chicken sausage in place of pork and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version will not disappoint!!
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4.94 from 30 votes
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Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

289 Cals 21 Protein 39 Carbs 5 Fats
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Italian
Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe uses chicken sausage in place of pork and a whole lot of garlic! This lightened up version will not disappoint!!

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 pasta, wheat or gluten-free
  • 1 cup less sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 11/2 cups, Calories: 289kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g
WW Points Plus: 7
Keywords: broccoli rabe orecchiette sausage, orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe

Photo credit: Jess Larson

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103 comments

  1. Fantastic! I make with the pork tho, for that authentic taste. ( my family doesnt like any other type meat with this)Also,I take out the blanched rapini with tongs, into a sieve, run under cold water, squeeze and chop- set aside ( easier when it’s soft). The same water the rapini boiled in, I use for the pasta- taking out a few ladel scoops- put aside if needed.

    Delish, !!thank you

  2. This was great and family loved it too. I scooped the rabe out with a slotted spoon then cooked the pasta in the same water and then substituted the chicken broth with the rabe/pasta water. Will be putting this on a regular rotation at our house!

  3. I tried with spinach! Pretty delicious! Next time rapini..

  4. First time I made it and will make again but will need to find chicken sausage without pork casing. I used ground turkey it was good but felt a bit dry. After making it again I’m sure it will be delicious

  5. I’m plugging in the nutritional info on my WW app and I’m getting 7 for the green. You have it written down as 9. Did it change ? 

  6. This recipe is amazing. The whole family loves it! It’s simple and easy. Made exactly as stated in recipe and no changes are needed. Used Barilla Collezione orecchiette and it is super chewy and delicious with the simple sauce.

  7. Very good! My husband is not a pasta fan and enjoyed it. I used the recipe as a guideline using what I had on hand (rotini, pork sausage, and regular fresh broccoli) but next time I will try it with the ingredients as listed. Now to remember to add them to the grocery list. 🙂 

  8. Two suggestions:

    Don’t use different water for the pasta – cook it right in the same water as the broccoli rabe (use a straining spoon to remove the broccoli rabe). The pasta will absorb some of the flavor and nutrients. Also, no real need for chicken stock – save a cup of the water after the pasta has cooked in it, and use that for the moisture. The pasta water has starch in it and will thicken slightly, keeping things from being soupy.

    • This! Also cook the pasta in less water than you are used to. You will get starchier water. After adding the pasta and water to the pan. Shake the pan wile stirring to build an emulsified sauce.

  9. This was so delicious! I vegan-ized the recipe using not- chicken broth, beyond sausage & vegan parm. It was amazing!!! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes! Thank you!

  10. AWESOME!!! The only change I made was that I used spicy Italian Sausage because I didn’t have the chicken sausage on hand. Hubby loved it!!

  11. I followed the recipe exactly.  It was easy and delicious.  The only change I would do is add another bundle of broccoli rabe, only because I love a lot of greens.  Also, just throw in the veg after step 6.  This will eliminate another pot to wash and avoid an unnecessary step.

  12. Is it supposed to be soupy? I only used one cup of broth. 

  13. One of my favorite Italian dishes. Was so glad to find a lightened up version and this recipe did not disappoint!  It’s great as leftovers too!  Thank you!