Filed Under: Italian | Main Dish | Pasta | Vegetables

Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

By Tessa Arias
May 2nd, 2009

The dish is a nice merging of flavors, spicy & bitter. 

Hey everyone! Last night I used but another recipe from Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis for pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe. I’m really getting a lot of use out of this cookbook! I couldn’t find Orecchiette pasta at the store so I used shell shaped pasta. The dish is a nice merging of flavors, spicy & bitter. The recipe is super simple, the only problem I ran into was preparing the broccoli rabe since I had never used it before. Does anyone know of any how-to videos on trimming broccoli rabe? You can lighten this dish up by using Turkey Sausage. If doing so, increase saute time form 8 minutes to 12 minutes.

How to make
Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

The dish is a nice merging of flavors, spicy & bitter. 


  • Salt
  • 2 Bunches of broccoli rabe, stalks trimmed and quarted crosswise
  • 12 ounces dried orecchiette pasta or other small shaped pasta such as farfalle or penne
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy pork sausage, casings removed
  • 3 garlic gloves, minced
  • pinch of dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used this plus more for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Strain the broccoli rabe, reserving all the cooking liquid. Set the broccoli rabe aside. Cook the orecchiette in the same pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occassionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the sausage is brown and juices form, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe and toss to coat. Add the pasta and enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Stir the Parmesan cheese, salt to taste, and the pepper into the pasta mixture.

Recipe Notes

Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    plasterers bristol — December 17, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Yummy!! not tried this before, sounds lovely. Thanks for sharing.


  2. #
    Malik Pitz — April 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Broccoli is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like structure on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.*


  3. #
    Tessa — June 4, 2009 at 12:48 am

    No I haven't tried that recipe, I'm not a big fan of salmon. Maybe I'll have to try it though, the last time I had salmon was years ago!

  4. #
    The Talley’s — June 3, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    I have her cookbook and love it. Have you tried Salmon Baked in Foil? I think it's page 165.. nerdy that I know the page (b/c I've cooked it so many times).. but this is a rave with family and friends.

  5. #
    Tessa — May 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Thank you so much Aggie 🙂

  6. #
    Aggie — May 7, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I’ve always loved this combination…one of my favorites! Welcome to CEimB! You have a great blog! Look forward to seeing what you are cooking up!


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