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Posts Tagged ‘broccoli rabe’


While we are in the midst of trying to sell the apartment, I’ve been falling back on old favorites. Last night, I made a version of this Puglian specialty, orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage and every time I make it, it brings me back to a night in southern Puglia. The meatiness of the sausage is comforting and warm on a cold fall night.

Fall always means lasagna time for me…I love making it for company too, because I can put it in the oven when they come over and spend time with people, rather than in the kitchen. My favorites for fall are mushroom and roasted carrot and butternut squash.

My favorite fall fruits are definitely pears, and I love to make crostatas with pears and gorgonzola this time of year. I make big batches of dough and freeze them for later, so I can just defrost and put together the filling when I’m running low on time.

Cold weather makes me really crave a good Sunday breakfast, and there’s no better breakfast than egg and pancetta sandwiches on homemade sage biscuits. I still have a couple of these tucked away in the freezer, and I can’t wait to have one this Sunday.

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I have been making this recipe for almost 10 years, which says a lot. It’s simple enough that I never have to look it up, and it’s always delicious. You could riff on it and add things like chicken or red pepper flakes or anchovies and it would totally work, but I like to keep it simple. I sometimes pair it with some chicken or veal saltimbocca and a side salad, but the options are endless.

Red Wine Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe

1/2 pound spaghetti

1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1/2 bottle of a big red wine like primitivo or zinfandel

1/2 cup grated pecorino

2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil

Blanch the broccoli rabe in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes and then remove to a frying pan. Saute the broccoli rabe in a little olive oil. Add the garlic and continue to saute for a minute or two. Remove to a bowl for later.

Meanwhile, start cooking the spaghetti in the salted, boiling water. Start reducing the wine in the frying pan. About halfway through the spaghetti cooking, add it to the wine with a little of the pasta cooking water. Continue to cook in the wine until the pasta is al dente and the liquid has cooked away. If you need more liquid to finish the pasta, you can add more of the pasta cooking water. Add the broccoli rabe back in and the pecorino and stir through. Serve with a little extra pecorino and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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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.

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