Orecchiette Con Broccoli Di Rape and Sausages | Recipes | PBS Food

Orecchiette Con Broccoli Di Rape and Sausages

Yield: 6 Servings



  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 lbs. broccoli di rape
  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic crushed
  • Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
  • 1 cup or more excellent chicken stock
  • For the Pasta:
  • 6 quarts water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • For Serving:
  • 1 ounce or more Pecorino Romano cheese grated
  • Special Equipment Suggested:
  • A 12-inch saute pan 3 inches deep, with tight-fitting cover
  • A tall stockpot holding at least 2 gallons with cover
  • A large warm platter or warm soup bowls or plates


  1. Preparing the Broccoli di Rape: Wash and spin-dry the broccoli di rape and remove the large tough leaves, leaving just tender leaves and flower buds. Cut off and discard the lower part of the stems, leaving broccoli about 8 inches long. Peel the stems by lifting strips from the stem end and drawing them up toward the bud area.
  2. Preparing the Sauce: Peel the sausage, crumble it, and saute over moderately high heat in a tablespoon of olive oil. In a moment or two, add the crushed garlic and continue sauteing for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the sausage is lightly browned. Drain out the fat in the pan, and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Roughly line up the broccoli di rape and slice into 4-inch lengths: add to the pan, tossing. Taste, and season lightly with salt and pepper flakes. (At this point, you could start the pasta.) Cover the broccoli pan and let steam for several minutes: when the broccoli has wilted, stir in the butter, then the stock and bring to a boil. Taste again for seasoning, and let cook uncovered for several minutes more to reduce and concentrate the liquid. (At this point grate the cheese.) Again taste and correct seasoning. Set aside until the pasta is ready.
  3. Boiling the Pasta: Heat 6 quarts of water in the stockpot, adding the salt, and timing so that the water is at a full boil by the time the broccoli di rape goes into the pan in the previous step. With the heat at its maximum, stir in the pasta and cover the pan until the water is at a boil. Then set the cover ajar and maintain at a moderate boil for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and checking on the progress now and then. After 9 minutes, start testing by eating a piece. It should be just cooked through, but not quite as tender as you would like because it will cook a little more with the sauce. Drain at once, and proceed to the serving.
  4. Serving the Pasta: Reheat the broccoli di rape as soon as the pasta has cooked and drained. Turn the hot pasta into the hot sauce and toss gently to blend. Taste carefully for seasoning, and remove from heat. Sprinkle on half of the freshly grated Romano cheese, and toss to blend. At once, turn the pasta onto the hot platter or plates, sprinkle with the rest of the Romano, and serve.