on the menu: orecchiette with sausage and rapini
I’ll admit it – I’m never going to give up carbs because I love pasta. I’m always on the hunt for a new recipe to make. There are just so many combinations! This one caught my eye and I can’t wait to make it tonight. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
If you can’t find rapini, regular broccoli will do just fine. Makes 4 servings.
1 lb orecchiette pasta
1 lb sweet Italian sausages, casing removed
1 large bunch of rapini (broccoli rabe), cut into 2 inch sections
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, sliced in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter
zest of 1 lemon
For breadcrumbs, melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, stir and toast until golden brown, taking care not to burn the crumbs. Remove from heat, stir in lemon zest. Spread out crumbs onto a baking sheet to cool.
Brown sausage in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once sausage has some color, add onion and cook until sausage is no longer pink inside and onion is soft and caramelized. Remove sausage and onion mixture and set aside. In the same pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, then add rapini. Cook rapini until wilted and soft, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, add juice of 1/2 a lemon, and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the rapini to a cutting board and chop finely. Return rapini, sausage, and onion to saucepan. Mix well and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook orecchiette al dente or according to package instructions, approximately 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving cooking liquid. Add pasta and cheese to the saucepan with rapini and sausage, stirring to incorporate all the ingredients. Add remaining 1/2 lemon juice. Add reserved cooking liquid a little at a time, stirring until the pasta is not dry. Serve pasta in bowls and top with breadcrumbs and additional cheese.