Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

This is a great dish for the early days of spring. It’s warm and comforting (because let’s face it, it’s still not THAT warm out yet!) but you get a little taste of spring flavor with the broccoli rabe.



  • 1 pound of ground hot Italian sausage

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • One 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes until browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices (breaking up the whole tomatoes with a fork), the red wine, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and let the mixture simmer over low heat while you prepare the pasta and broccoli.

Trim the broccoli rabe to just below the leaves and discard the stems. Cut the leafy part of the broccoli rabe crosswise in 2-inch pieces. Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to instructions on package.

During the last three minutes of pasta cooking, add the broccoli rabe to the pasta and continue cooking for the last 3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain in a large colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta and broccoli to the pot with the tomato and sausage mixture. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid. Serve hot with extra Parmesan on the side.

Adapted from Ina Garten