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Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

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5 from 1 review


Good orecchiette is essential for this recipe. I personally like Casa Rustichella or DeCecco. I do not recommend Trader Joe’s. Their pasta sticks together in big blobs.


  • Approx. 5 oz rapini or broccolini, root ends trimmed
  • Pinch hot pepper flakes
  • 2 sweet Italian sausages, meat removed from the casings 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Splash white wine
  • ½ lb dried orecchiette 
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for serving
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Setup a large pot of water to boil the broccoli and afterwards the pasta. If you have a pot with a strainer insert, that will make things easier.  Once the water is boiling, salt the water as you would for cooking pasta.
  2. Add the broccoli and once the water returns to a boil, cook for 4 minutes. In the meantime, setup an ice water bath in a bowl. Once the broccoli is cooked, remove immediately leaving the water behind and place in the ice bath. Once the broccoli is cold, remove from water and pat dry and cut into bitesized pieces.
  3. Set a large frypan over medium heat. Add a few tbsps of olive oil to warm. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes. They should sizzle a bit. With your hands, crumble the raw sausage into the pan. With a wooden spoon break the sausage into small bit and stir until cooked. Push the sausage to the side and add the garlic. Sauté quickly until the garlic browns. Add the splash of wine and loosen the bits of sausage from the pan and stir everything together. Remove from the heat.
  4. Return the water used to cook the broccoli to a boil. Add the pasta and cook per the package directions to “al dente”. Note that the package cooking times start when the water returns to a boil.
  5. Remove the pasta from the water reserving at least a cup. Add the pasta and the cut broccoli to the pan with the sausage and return to a medium heat. Gradually add the cheese and a little pasta water and stir. The water and cheese will make a light sauce and will also get absorbed into the pasta. Keep adding water and cheese until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
  6. Add some ground pepper and serve with more grated cheese.