Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes, and Calabrian Chili

This recipe is based on an old favorite from the Fine Cooking Magazine archives. I made modifications based on flavors I love, swapped and added alternate ingredients, and added a squeeze of lemon at the end for brightness.

Purple ShisoI hope you like the video, too. Take note of the small potted plant next to my sink. It was a tiny purple shiso leaf plant (also known as perilla) at the beginning of the summer. I’ve included a picture of what it looks like now, just three months later. Isn’t it amazing how it has grown so quickly?

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes, and Calabrian Chili

Serves 6


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1b. broccoli rabe, trimmed
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, more for serving
  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 lb. orecchiette or similar pasta
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp. Calabrian chili, more to taste
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, more for serving
  • Lemon wedges, if desired


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cut the broccoli rabe stems crosswise into ½-inch pieces and the leaves into 1-inch pieces. Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until it becomes light green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the broccoli rabe to a large bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving the boiled water.

Heat the oil on medium heat in a large skillet until it shimmers. Add the sausages and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until golden brown and no longer pink. Meanwhile, return the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions to al-dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return to the pot with the broccoli rabe.

Add the garlic and chili to the skillet with the sausage and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sausages to the pot with the broccoli rabe and pasta mixture along with any juices from the pan. Add the cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, and ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss well, adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve with more cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and lemon wedges, if desired.

–Chef Diana




4 thoughts on “Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes, and Calabrian Chili

  1. This reminds me the pasta dish we had at Po but you refreshed it beautifully. 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


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