Orecchiette Pasta 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.

5 from 3 votes
Did you make this recipe?

Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Freestyle Points
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Italian


  • 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


  • 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.


Serving: 11/2 cups, Calories: 289.4kcal, Carbohydrates: 38.7g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 5.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0g, Trans Fat: 0g, Potassium: 0mg, Fiber: 3.7g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 0%, Vitamin C: 0%, Calcium: 0%, Iron: 0%
Freestyle Points: 8