Orecchietta with Rapini and Sausage

broccoli rabe


One of my favorite specialty dishes is this Orecchietta with Rapini and Sausage. Who am I kidding. They’re all my favorite dishes. Anyway, this dish is simple to make and tastes great.

The bold bitter flavor of rapini or broccoli rabe as it’s also known, is not for everyone. If you never tried this vegetable you have to try it at least once. You’ll either love it or hate it. This dish is excellent but I especially like rapini and sausage on pizza or just sautéed as a side dish.

Rapini originated in the Mediterranean and is used in many Italian and Chinese dishes. It is an acquired taste which has a nutty but rather bitter favor. It is not as popular in the US but is gaining popularity. Rapini is rich in vitamins A, C and K as well as potassium.

In this Orecchietta with Rapini and Sausage recipe you can use sweet or hot Italian sausage. Which every you prefer. Sometimes I like to use a sweet sausage with a little red pepper flakes sautéed in the rapini.


  • 1 pound of Orecchietta or Farfalle or Penne pasta
  • 1 pound of rapini, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 bunch of long green onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbls of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of fresh grated Pecorino-Romano cheese


  • Cut the sausage on diagonally into 1 inch pieces.
  • Trim around a half inch off the bottom of the rapini, wash thoroughly and chop.
  • In 5 quarts of salted boiling water blanch the rapini for 3 minutes. Remove the rapini and place in an ice bath.
  • Cook the orecchietta in the same water until al dente. Around 8 minutes.
  • In a large skillet cook the sausage until they are brown.
  • Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.
  • Add the olive oil to the pan and saute the onions, garlic and red pepper for 2 minutes.
  • Add the rapini and saute for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the sausage for 5 more minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • In a large serving bowl mix together the orecchietta and sausage.

    Serve with the Pecorino-Romano cheese. Serves 4 people.

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