Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage & Broccoli Rabe (Everyday Italian)

Honestly I think the best thing about Giada's recipes is knowing I'll have enough left overs for an unbelievable lunch. Sure beats my usual turkey sandwich! What a delicious dinner this was. The longest part of the prep was cleaning & cutting the broccoli rabe. Yum!

4 main-course servings
2 bunches of broccoli rabe, stalks trimmed & quartered crosswise
12oz dried orecchiette pasta or other small shaped pasta such as farfalle or penne
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy pork sausage, casings removed (we used hot chicken sausage instead)
3 garlic cloves, minced (as usual we cut back on garlic and only used 2)
pinch of dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Strain the broccoli rabe, reserving all the cooking liquid. Set the broccoli rabe aside. Cook the orecchiette in the same pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the sausage is brown and juices form, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe and toss to coat. Add the pasta and enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Stir the parmesan cheese, salt to taste and pepper into the pasta mixture. Transfer to pasta bowls and seve.

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