Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The first time I encountered orechiette, I fell in love. I love the shape, the texture, and the way that sauce gets tucked inside this little ear-shaped pasta. In case you're wondering, it's pronounced OAR-WRECK-EE-ET-AY and, trust me, this dish is easier to make than it is to pronounce. Since Wednesday is weigh-in day, it's the day of the week to make pasta, if you follow Weight Watchers' logic. While there are certain better brands of pasta (e.g. DeCecco) that make orechiette, I usually go to an Italian specialty store to buy an imported brand. The pasta seems firmer and tastier. This recipe is something I throw together--and change ever-so-slightly--each time. In the winter, I like to make orechiette with cannellini beans and sage, but this rendition is my favorite. I'll try to pin down the recipe so you can see for yourself.

1 lb. orechiette
1/2 lb. Italian sausage patties, sweet or hot (or squeeze sausage out of 4 links)
1 head of broccoli rabe (AKA rapini)
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/4 cup dry vermouth
olive oil
freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Soak the broccoli rabe in a large pot of water for 10 minutes; drain, then rough-chop. As broccoli rabe soaks, heat a skillet with 1-2 tsp olive oil and cook the sausage, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. When sausage begins to lose its pinkness, add the sliced garlic, being careful not to burn it, or it will be bitter. When sausage is cooked, add vermouth and boil until liquid evaporates. Set pan off to the side of the burner.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add broccoli rabe and cook about 5 minutes. Scoop out and rinse under cold water; drain, and add to sausage mixture. Bring the same water to a boil again and cook the pasta in it. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the water.

Add the pasta and reserved water to the sausage and broccoli rabe. Mix well. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with good Pecorino Romano cheese.

I dare you to eat one bowl of this! Leftovers are great; you might need to loosen pasta with olive oil and/or chicken broth.


  1. Looks delicious. Coincidentally, I'm making a sausage pasta tonight, which I originally wanted to do with broccoli rabe too, but I don't have any and I'm too lazy to go outside...

  2. I just need you to cmoe here and cook for me . Everything you make looks so good.


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