Saturday, November 7, 2009

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rape

 October 2009 671-1 Maybe you already know, but this pasta shape is called orecchiette. Orecchio means ear in Italian. The diminutive is formed by adding the ette, leaving you with little ears, which is what this pasta resembles.  They’re very popular in the region of Italy known as Puglia, or Apulia as it is sometimes called in the states.  Puglia is the southeastern region of Italy that forms the “heel” of the country’s “boot.”

Puglia is not visited nearly as much as other parts of the country and that’s too bad because it’s got a lot going for it including beautiful beaches, great food and fascinating architecture. One of Puglia’s most intriguing towns is a place called Alberobello, where conical-shaped stone homes called trulli are omnipresent. Many of them are painted with symbols, as the one with the cross in the middle of this photo.

262 - Alberobello main street But back to the orecchiette, which are as common in Puglia as tortelloni are in Bologna. The first time I visited Alberobello, I ate the specialty pasta in a tomato sauce with friends who lived there.  I’ll take them any way they’re prepared, but my favorite way to eat them is with broccoli rape and sausage. 

Lucky me to receive a package of these vacuum-packed handmade orecchiette made in Italy from my fellow blogger Stacey, of Stacey Snacks:

October 2009 632

If you can’t find fresh ones, they’re available dry in packages too. This recipe takes about as long to make as it does to boil pasta, so have everything ready at the beginning. I start by peeling the lower part of the broccoli rape, which makes it more tender and less bitter. You should get the water boiling at this time and fry your sausage too. I usually cook the broccoli rape in the same pot with the pasta. It saves another pot, but you have to time it right so you don’t get overcooked broccoli rape, or overcooked pasta. Here’s the whole recipe. Like so many of my recipes, I don’t really measure, so don’t be so worried if you’ve got a little too much of this or not enough of that. It’s not like baking a cake, where measurements have to be exact.

Orecchiette With Broccoli Rape and Sausage

printable recipe

1 package of orecchiette (about 1 lb.)

1/2 large bunch of broccoli rape, trimmed

olive oil

two garlic cloves, minced

1 pound sausage

red pepper flakes

parmesan cheese

salt

Take the casings off the sausage and fry it in a little olive oil, breaking it up into bits. When the sausage is almost cooked, add the garlic and saute. Meanwhile, start the water to boil for the pasta and add a bit of salt. Trim the broccoli rape, peeling the lower part of the stalks. Cut the stalks into two or three pieces, depending on how long they are. Put your pasta into the boiling, salted water and give it a stir. Depending on the thickness of the orecchiette and the broccoli rape, you can add the broccoli rape to the pot and cook them at the same time as the pasta. When cooked, I scoop the pasta out with a metal “spider” and place the pasta and broccoli rape it directly in the pan with the sausage, which should be thoroughly cooked by now. Some of the water will come along with the pasta and the broccoli rape. You want that to help develop a “sauce.” But note, this does not really have a juicy sauce per se.  Add the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and more pasta water as needed. Stir everything together, then finish with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and another splash of olive oil to finish.

October 2009 666

24 comments:

Stacey Snacks said...

Little ears are my favorite!
and this is my very favorite pasta dish. Looks delish!
Did you think the fresh pasta made a difference?

Proud Italian Cook said...

Linda, This dish is my favorite, I always order it out when it's on the menu, but never make it nearly as much as I should,as I personally think it taste's so much better with fresh pasta, but then doesn't everything? Hey Stace, Where's my "little ears"? (just kidding!)

Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura said...

I have just been dreaming of cooking this! I am going to ask my husband to bring home some local sausages from Positano to make it. I love it!

Michele said...

One of my favorite things!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

The private tour was fascinating. Having been over most of Europe, I long to add Italy to "places to see before I die". Pasta is my favorite fast food. This one sounds perfect.

Daniela said...

Favolse queste orecchiette, gia' dalla foto mi viene un languorino...
Buona domenica Daniela.

doggybloggy said...

with what I am about to say I feel possessed but dang that is one romantic looking bowl of pasta!

Jen_from_NJ said...

I had almost the same dinner last night except I didn't have any orecchiette... I also used provolone and parsley sausage - loved it! Yours with the fresh pasta looks perfect!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Linda

You would love "I Trulli" Restaurant located at 122 East 2th St, between Lexington Ave and Park Ave South, as they have cuisine from Puglia and famous for their handmade orecchiette. I blogged about them last year for restaurant week.
It's one of our favorite restaurants!

♥peachkins♥ said...

First time I've heard of orecchiette. It looks mighty interesting. I'd try it if its available.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Beautiful Linda! I would love a big bowl right now!

Kathleen said...

I wish I lived next door to you so I could invite myself over for dinner!!

Lucy said...

My absolute favorite dish. My mom had a knack making the orecchiette homemade, unfortunately I'm all thumbs when I've attempted to make this pasta. The art of making cavatelli, 2 fingers at a time, works for me LOL!

Claudia said...

I make this once a week in the winter - just changing the pastas and using turkey sausage. It is beloved! And someday ... going to Puglia.

Robin Sue said...

I love pasta dishes like this one. A comfort meal all in one bowl. Love your photos too- very nice!

The Food Hunter said...

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes. Lucky you to get them fresh.

The Cooking Photographer said...

I love this dish, and have made it before. But I trust your recipes and will be using this!

Laura

Spryte said...

That is my FAVORITE pasta shape!!! And that looks sooo yummy!!!!

Mike Hale & Co. said...

Who needs a twist on Broccoli Rabe when there's a great dish like this! Your recipe selection is amazing! I am so glad Linda J. pointed me your way :)

Danielle said...

mmm...love it! Now if only my local market would sell broccoli rape. I can hopefully find the orecchiette at the italian market around the corner...although they are sometimes lacking in things.

Antonietta said...

Linda this looks so good I wish I could reach through the screen and take a bite!

heshaojie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

um....i thought it was broccoli rabe...not broccoli rape?

Ciao Chow Linda said...

To Anonymous - It's called lots of different things from broccoli rape to broccoli rabe to broccoli raab to broccoli rapini. I grew up with it being called broccoli rape and that's what a lot of people in Italy call it too. Whatever way you refer to it, it's delicious.