Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Orecchiette Broccoli (Rapini) e Salsiccia
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Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli is one of the most classic way of enjoying this fun pasta shape. Orecchiette get their name from looking like an ear and are the perfect shape to hold bits of sausage and pieces of broccoli.

What type of wine should I use and can I substitute it?

The wine used here is important as it brings the whole dish together. Some of my favorite wines to use in this recipe are Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner. If you do not want to use wine, you could substitute vegetable or chicken stock but will miss some of the brightness from the wine.

Types of broccoli to use?

This recipe works with broccoli, broccoli rabe (rapini) or broccolini. The only difference is broccoli rabe is more bitter while broccolini is more sweet.

Notes on sausage

Some recipes call for garlic or chili peppers. Both are a welcome and needed flavor but whether you add them to the dish depends on the sausage you use. Some sausage can be garlicky and spicy already so will not be needed. You will want to adjust based on the sausage you are using.

Check out our homemade Orecchiette recipe here!

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 15 mins Total Time 25 mins
Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Orecchiette with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe served in a white wine butter sauce. 



  1. Brown the Sausage

    In a skillet over medium-high heat brown the sausage, breaking into small pieces. 

  2. Blanch the Broccoli Rabe

    Bring a saucepan of salted water a light boil. Add the broccolini for around 2 minutes then transfer to the skillet with the sausage. 

    This step is optional but prevents the broccoli rabe from being as bitter and helps ensure it is cooked tender.
  3. Prepare the sauce

    Once the broccoli is added to the sausage add the white wine. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for a minute. Add the butter then cover. 

  4. Boil the pasta

    Boil the pasta in a well salted pot of water. Cook according to the package for al dente or 5 minutes if fresh orecchiette. 

    If you are using broccoli rabe, you will want to use a different pot of water to avoid the pasta from being bitter. If you are using regular broccoli or broccolini you can use the same water.
  5. Finish the pasta

    Transfer the pasta to the sausage mixture, toss and let cook for a minute. 

    Taste and adjust for seasoning and serve with parmigiano reggiano or pecorino cheese. 

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