WRITTEN ON May 4th, 2009 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Dinner, Italian, Pasta, Pork

If this isn’t the favorite Sunday dinner in our house, it’s definitely in the top three. There’s nothing better than fresh pasta, and this combination of ingredients is rustic and comforting. The broccoli rabe is slightly bitter, set off perfectly by the sweet yellow raisins. The sausage is savory and has just a hint of fennel. The parm, garlic, shallot and extra pasta water create a light “sauce” that just coats all the ingredients without overpowering any of them. This is big flavor, and well worth the time it takes to make the pasta. In fact, I used to make it with boxed orecchiette (Italian for “little ears”), but after the first time actually making the pasta myself, I vowed never to use the boxed variety again. Fresh pasta truly elevates this dish. This is cooking with love. Serve it proudly and eat with abandon. It will almost make you forget that Monday is just around the corner (almost).

The cure for Sunday blues

The cure for Sunday blues

Orecchitte with Sweet Sausage and Broccoli Rabe (serves 4)
For the pasta:
½ cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups semolina flour
All purpose flour for dusting
Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl and stir until a loose ball forms. Turn out onto floured countertop and knead until satiny and smooth, about 8 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes under an overturned bowl. After 20 minutes, cut into 4 pieces. Working with one piece at a time (leave others under bowl), roll out under hands into a long rope. Move rope to a kitchen towel dusted with flour, cut into pieces about ½ an inch thick. With your thumb, press each piece into the shape of a “little ear” (orecchitte, in Italian). Continue with remaining pieces. Let dry for about 30 minutes.

Twist my ear

Twist my ear

For the sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 handfuls yellow raisins
1 lb fresh Italian sweet sausage
1 large bunch broccoli rabe
2 springs fresh thyme, picked
½ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
While pasta is drying, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim about ¾ inch off the ends of the broccoli rabe, then chop entire bunch, including leaves, into 1 ½ inch long pieces. Cook in boiling water about 2 minutes until just tender. Drain and run immediately under cold water to stop cooking. Refill the same large pot with salted water, bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot, sweat about 1 minute. Add garlic, raisins and red pepper flakes, sauté about 30 seconds. Add sausage, breaking up into pieces, cook through. Drain off some of the fat, return to heat, add cooked broccoli rabe. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When pot of water is boiling, add pasta, cook about 4 minutes until it floats and is cooked through. Add about 2 tbsp of the pasta water to the sauce, then drain pasta. Add directly to the saucepan, mix to combine, bring to simmer. Sprinkle with thyme and toss in cheese. Serve immediately.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply