We immediately recreated orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage once we got home, and it was almost like still being in Puglia. I find myself missing it already. The orecchiette from Eataly was actually from Maglie, a town we seemed to keep driving towards, no matter what direction we were going.
This is the traditional pasta of Puglia, and you can find it in this combination on most Italian menus. The spiciness from the sausage and broccoli rabe really complement the chewiness of this egg-less pasta. It’s also one of the quickest things you can make, and perfect for a weeknight. The version I made in Puglia had pancetta in it as well, since I needed to use it up, and it made it extra delicious.
Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
1/2 pound orecchiette
1/2 onion, chopped
4 spicy Italian sausages, removed from casings
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
2-3 slices pancetta, minced (optional)
Blanch the broccoli rabe in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water (you can use the water from the broccoli rabe) a couple minutes less than the cooking time on the package.
Meanwhile, if using pancetta, render it in a large saute pan in a little olive oil. Add the sausage and break it up in the pan. Let it brown well, and then add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the broccoli rabe after the onions have softened a bit.
Add the wine and a bit of the pasta water to deglaze anything on the bottom of the pan. Add the pasta and continue to cook together for the last 2 minutes. Off the heat, you can add an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some grated pecorino or parmesan.