I'm currently addicted to this pasta dish. It was inspired by a recipe in Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian. I love the bite that the orecchiette has and the fennel flavor in the sausage. Blanching the broccoli in the pasta water makes for quick cooking. We've made this with regular broccoli, baby broccoli and most recently broccoli rabe, all were equally good. This is also the first time we tried it with the fired roasted tomatoes & it was a great addition though I love it with just the sausage & broccoli too.
Orecchiette with Sausage & Broccoli
(serves 2 can be doubled)
1/4 lb dry orecchiette
1 T olive oil
1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage (we use mild but get spicy if you like things hot)
1 small shallot diced
1/4 bunch broccoli (can be baby broccoli or even broccoli rabe which I used this time) cut into bite size pieces
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes (optional)
crushed red pepper flakes
In a large pot bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil. Add in broccoli (if using broccoli rabe sort out the leaves from the stems & heads. Only blanch the stems & heads, set the leaves aside for later). Boil for until bright green & just slightly tender, about 1 minute. Remove the broccoli from the water and set aside.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add shallot and sausage. Cook until sausage is cooked through breaking it up as it cooks. If using tomatoes drain most of the juice from the can. Add tomatoes to sauce pan. Cook until heated through. Add blanched broccoli (if you used broccoli rabe add the leaves at this time too).
Add crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Heat through (& until broccoli rabe leaves are wilted)
Drain pasta well & add into the saute pan with the sauce. Serve into bowls and garnish with grated parmesan.