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5 from 19 votes

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Tiny morsels of sweet fennel sausage, garlicky broccoli rabe, and spicy cherry peppers nest within the tiny crevices of orecchiette pasta to form the ultimate pasta meal!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6


  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage removed from casing
  • 4 large cherry (vinegar) peppers chopped with seeds and stems removed
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe chopped into 2" pieces
  • 10 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water


  • Cut off and discard the bottom1 inch of broccoli rabe. Chop the broccoli rabe into 2-3 inch long pieces.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch the broccoli rabe for 2-3 minutes and set aside to cool. To the same pot of boiling water add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and the orecchiette pasta. Cook pasta 1-2 minutes less than box instructions (al dente).
  • In your largest pan saute the sausage until cooked through over medium heat. Remove the sausage from the pan and set it aside.
  • In the same pan add a 1/4 cup of olive oil and the chopped garlic. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic turns lightly golden (about 2 minutes). Add the cherry peppers and return the sausage to the pan. Turn the heat back to medium and cook for 2 minutes more.
  • Add the broccoli rabe to the pan and mix everything together to combine the flavors. Add a cup of pasta water to the pan and cook for 1 minute more. Add in the al dente and cook until done (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Taste test and make final adjustments to salt and pepper. When satisfied turn off the heat and add in the parsley and the extra virgin olive oil. Mix once more and serve. If the pasta is too dry just add a couple of ounces of pasta water at a time to bring the consistency back to perfect. Serve with more cherry peppers and grated cheese. Enjoy!



  • Make sure to remove the hard bottom 1 inch of the broccoli rabe.
  • Cook pasta al dente so that it can be finished in the sausage and pasta water to acquire more flavor.  
  • If the pasta dries out prior to serving, just revive it with a few ounces of pasta water.  Always save your pasta water!
  • Salt to taste.  The amount of salt required will be dictated by the sausage used.  Some brands are way saltier than others.
  • Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Calories: 779kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.1g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 895mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 2.1g | Sugar: 1.3g | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 5mg