This sausage & broccoli rabe is one our of favorite pasta combos! A favorite local restaurant of ours makes this pasta dish and we get it every time. This is our version, and honestly, in my opinion it tastes just as good! This dish requires minimal ingredients but has robust flavoring. Sometimes the most simplest dishes packed the most punch. Broccoli Rabe is Thomas’s favorite and when he started making this combo I quickly understood how good it was. On a side note, broccoli rabe is loaded with tons of good nutrients! Be sure to make this recipe for friends and family as we know it will be a good addition to your recipe books!
What do you need to make this sausage & broccoli rabe pasta?
- Orecchiette pasta- Orecchiette is one of our favorite pasta shapes and is the same shape they use at the restaurant we based off of. The orecchiette pairs with this recipe really well but feel free to use any shape or variety! Whole wheat, chickpea, etc.
- Mild Italian Sausage- We used mild sausage but you can also do spicy Italian for a little more heat. Also, if you are in a pinch try ground turkey or ground pork. Sometimes the heat is not always kid friendly, so we usually stick to mild Italian sausage for the kids. We used Carando sausage for this one!
- Olive oil– There is nothing like some good quality olive oil. We use a ton of olive oil, because it’s one of our favorite things and has lots of wonderful nutrients! It adds such a nice light yet rich flavor to this broccoli rabe & sausage pasta dish!
- Fresh garlic- Fresh garlic is 100% ideal here. There really is no substitute to fresh garlic!
- Ricotta- This adds the best creaminess to the sauce. Ricotta is so underrated.
- Parmesan– We use fresh parmesan and grate it ourselves. You can also buy the already grated to save on time. Pecorino romano would work wonderfully too.
- Broccoli rabe- Thomas loves broccoli rabe so much and I’ve never had it growing up so it’s taken me a few years to get used to the more bitter taste. I will say when you blanch it first it makes all the difference. So much less bitter and works so well in this dish!
Tips for making it:
- To save time you can take a few shortcuts. You can buy already grated garlic and already shredded parmesan for quick alternatives.
- Make sure you add the parmesan right onto the fresh pasta when you pour it into the pan with the rest of the ingredients. This ensures that the parmesan sticks to the pasta and just gives it a great distribution!
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Alright, let’s get to making the recipe! Enjoy!
Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Pasta
- 8 oz orecchiette pasta
- 2-3 mild Italian sausages
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup ricotta
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe blanched
- ⅓ cup pasta water
- 3-4 garlic cloves chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp red pepper
- grated parmesan for serving
- In a medium to large pot, boil water for pasta. Add ½ tsp salt to the water. Cook pasta according to the package.
- Next, we are going to blanch the broccoli rabe. Cut off the ends of the broccoli rabe. In a small or medium pot, bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the broccoli rabe for about 2 minutes until the color becomes vibrant.
- Remove the broccoli rabe from boiling water and add it too ice for about 2-3 mins. Then add it to paper towel and pat dry. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet. Once heated add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add in the sausage and break it up with a wooden spoon (for the sausage, we take the casing off and break it down). Season with a sprinkle of sea salt. Sometimes the sausage may already be salty.
- In the same skillet, reduce heat when the sausage is about half way cooked through. Add the additional tbsp of olive oil and the chopped garlic. Mix until fragrant. Pour in the blanched broccoli rabe and let it cook down for a few minutes.
- Next, add in the pasta water, cooked pasta, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Add in the ricotta cheese and mix.
- Grate about ¼-⅓ cup of parmesan on top of the pasta as well as a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional) and mix everything well. Add additional salt if need.