orecchiette with sausage + rappi.

Hey there! Long time, no talk. I know I’ve been MIA, and my deepest apologies to my readers (all 6 or 8 or you. Hi friends!). Work has been absolutely insane, and months of work ramped up and finally culminated last week with a big site visit/interview/audit that will help determine if our program will be able to add a shiny, brand new residency to our repertoire! It has been a crazy amount of work by several people and it was actually quite surreal that it actually happened last week. Of course, the very next day I hopped on a plane to attend a conference and happily, see some dear friends that lived in the D.C. area and of course, squeeze in some time for the National Zoo! It was whirlwind, but so fun and exhausting. Now I’m back and trying to get into the groove of my routine. I’ve been eating way too much take out and snack/pseudo meals due to my schedule. Now that I’m home, it’s time to get back in the kitchen.

One of the first meals I ever made myself was a riff on this recipe, although I used pre-made Italian dressing as my “flavoring” and used diced chicken and steamed broccoli. It was my I’m-new-to-cooking-and-this-is-my-go-to-I-won’t-screw-up meal, and I ate it OFTEN. Now that my cooking skills have improved, it’s rare that I use a pre-made dressing for a marinade/sauce, and little did I know that pasta with Italian sausage, broccoli rabe (a lovely, bitter green) and cheese is a classic Italian dish that is stunningly delicious and simple! I scooped up some beautiful sweet Italian sausage on sale a few weeks ago and it’s been hanging in my freezer just waiting to be used. Even though I’ve been eating lots of take out, finally decompressing from work and travel combined with frozen temperatures have resulted in me craving some serious Italian comfort foods.

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As I’ve mentioned before, if I’m going to eat Italian, I prefer to make it, and this recipe is a great example of why. Just a few good ingredients combined with a relatively quick cooking process yields a beautiful, classic,comforting dish. Broccoli rabe is often called rappi or rapini at the grocery store, and its bitter flavor mellows out during the cooking process. This dish comes together in no time flat, and is crazy comforting. Enjoy!

orecchiette with sausage + broccoli rabe.
adapted from Williams + Sonoma. 

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ingredients

1/2 pound sweet italian sausage, casings removed
1 bunch broccoli rabe, end of stems removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces (about 1 pound)
1/2 pound orecchiette pasta
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch of crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

directions

Heat a pot of water until boiling. Cook past to package directions. Once finished, drain and set aside; do NOT rinse.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks. Once it is all browned and cooked through, remove to a fine mesh strainer or plate. Set aside.

Add chicken broth and garlic to the pan and allow to come to a fast simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat slightly to medium and add the broccoli rabe and crushed red pepper. Stir frequently, allowing the greens to wilt, about 3 minutes. Once wilted but still bright green, add sausage back in along with the cooked pasta. Add parmesan cheese and stir to combine.

The chicken stock will have thickened; if it is still very thin, reduce heat to low and allow the dish to come together for a few additional minutes; stirring often. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if necessary.

Divide among four bowls and serve, topping with additional cheese, if desired. Serves 4.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**

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