Recipe: Orecchiette with broccoli raab and Italian sausage

This recipe is a quick, tasty way to squeeze in some extra servings of dark greens. It’s inspired by a favorite dish of mine at Teatro, a cute little Italian restaurant near the Boston Common. Think of the pasta and the sausage as delicious garnishes, as opposed to the main stars of the dish.

Makes 6 small servings or 4 large ones


  • 8oz orecchiette, uncooked
  • 2 large bunches broccoli raab, about 1.5-2 lbs
  • 1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage (I love the ones from Whole Foods, made on-site)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 6 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt


  1. Get a large stockpot full of salted water boiling.
  2. Cut broccoli raab into 1.5 inch pieces.
  3. Cut sausage meat out of the casing. Using your hands, separate into small bits. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink.
  4. Turn the heat under the meat to low and add red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook gently for about a minute or two, until garlic is fragrant but not burnt.
  5. Cook orecchiette in boiling water. Check the box to see how long it will take to cook it to your preferred doneness, then set the timer for 3 minutes less than that.
  6. Once your timer goes off, add in the broccoli raab to the stockpot and stir. While the broccoli raab is cooking, scoop out and set aside about a cup and a half of pasta water. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, and drain.
  7. Scoop the sausage mixture, the drained orecchiete, and the broccoli raab into the stockpot, add a few grinds of fresh black pepper, and mix well. Sprinkle in parmesan. Drizzle in pasta water and mix to thin the sauce to your desired consistency.

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