orecchiette with brown butter, sausage and rapini
February 13, 2014 § 84 Comments
I tried really hard to hold off on posting another pasta recipe for awhile, and I think I did pretty good! The last pasta post was 30+ days ago on January 13th. You could almost call this a pasta blog. After all there are now 23 pasta recipes posted and a few in the drafts waiting patiently for their time in the spotlight. This one is good. Orecchiette with brown butter, sausage and rapini; a flawless combination.
Orecchiette has always been a favorite of mine. The young man of the house refers to them appropriately as “helmets”. The shapes are perfect little cups holding bits of delicious sauce in every bite. Rather than pork, we tend to lean toward using chicken sausage and this was an especially fine hot Italian sort.
Rapini, aka broccoli rabe, has gently spiked tender leaves that surround clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. The flavor of rapini has been described as nutty, bitter, and pungent. This is a very simple sauté that would be delicious with any other type of hearty leafy green such as kale, mustard greens or chard. Eat more leafy greens! … even if butter is involved.
I n g r e d i e n t s
- 1 pound orecchiette
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound hot Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 bunch rapini, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (or more according to desire)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus a little more for garnish
M e t h o d
Using a large pot, bring salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to timed instructions until al dente. Drain and reserve at least a 1 cup of pasta water. Set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Cook until browned a little, approximately 5 minutes. Put all except a 1 tablespoon of the butter into a small bowl. Return pan to heat, and add sausage. Cook until brown, while breaking up with a spoon. Add rapini and red pepper flakes to pan. Seasoning with salt and pepper and cook until wilted, 5-7 minutes, covering if necessary.
Add pasta to sausage and greens, then add pasta water, reserved butter and Parmigiano Reggiano and toss to coat. Serve immediately with additional Parmigiano Reggiano and red pepper flakes.
pretty! looks lovely–perfect cold-weather food. You’re saying you like pasta, then? ;-) I hereby dub you the Pasta Queen. No need to hold back :-) Especially with recipes like this one.
Pasta Queen! :) I do like pasta…sometimes I wonder if it is actually the pasta or the sauce I like so much. Often I stand over the sauce and eat it while the pasta is boiling. Not sure how serving a plate of sauce without pasta would go over! Well, this sauce would be fine without the added starch!
Seana, My husband and I love a well-prepared, flavorful pasta dish, like loves at Pasta Grove House. This looks divine with the rich sausage, earthy brown butter and bright, deeply flavored rappini. We had pasta last night… and might again soon, thanks to this beautiful feature photo. Best, Shanna
Good to hear I’m not the only one…. Pasta Grove House…hmmm, that’s an idea. :) Like your description, makes me want to go in, edit the post and use it. xx
Feel free, Madame Pasta!
I love the “helmets” too! He has a much better description than elephant ears. It’s wonderful how your blog features simple recipes. Shows that with just a few simple ingredients, and a couple kitchen tools, you can create delicious REAL food for your family. Have you tried making many recipes from Real Simple magazine? Even though there aren’t an abundance of vegan recipes, I still go to them time and again for recipe ideas. They are almost always winners.
I think I have prepared Real Simple recipes, but it has been years. I used to have a subscription many moons ago and you just reminded me of their recipes. I’ll pick up a copy next time I’m at the market. It is so kind of you to read my blog even though you are a vegan! :) I think this particular pasta sauce could easily be modified to vegan. I’m sure you are an expert at recipe modification! Thank you for your thoughtful comment!
OMG. Favorite pasta, brown butter…and rapini?! With sausage?! This is heavenly, I repeat, heavenly, to me! I will be making this soon :)
I didn’t realize orecchiette was so favorable! It is my second favorite to good ol’ spaghetti! There is something about twirling the spaghetti on the fork I am so fond of… Hope you get a chance to try this…so easy and impressive!
This is one of my favorite pasta dishes and one I have neglected to make this winter so far. Thanks for the reminder! Please keep all the pasta recipes coming. Pasta is my guilty pleasure and I love to try different recipes.
Hope you make it before the winter is gone! Hmmm…will winter ever leave? It’s a long one this year for sure. Guilty pleasure for sure, all those carbs! Nice to hear from you Ngan!
I know that all pasta is “the same” but orecchiette is my FAVORITE!! I love this dish – I have never made it with brown butter… which makes everything that much better! I wish that I had all of these ingredients RIGHT NOW– trapped inside AGAIN with snow POURING outside!
It’s true…same ingredients in pasta…different shape and completely different effect. The snow has been incredible in some parts this year. I keep hearing about all the storms, and here I sit, no snow! I love snow and wish for one good falling. Where do you live? I’m curious…
Long Island, New York. We have snow landing on huge piles of old snow and ice- CRAZY! I am really tired of it! I am enjoying the extra cleaning & baking time though :)
Oh wow! You are hit hard! When will it ever stop, then when will it ever melt! Hopefully you are able to make it to the store!
Orecchiette is one of my favorites as well — for just the reason you describe. They hold sauces SO WELL! And obviously, I am in good company judging by the other comments. :-)
This recipe looks wonderful! And hey….nothing wrong with having an entire arsenal of pasta dishes! :-)
It’s true Jessica, having an arsenal of pasta dishes is my idea of a well equipped kitchen. Thank you!
Sausage pasta is one of my husband’s favourites, but I tire of the same recipe all the time. Well tomorrow I am getting sausages and broccoli in my organic food box, and it will just so happens to be Valentine’s day, so I think this can be a special Valentine’s treat for him – thank you!
Oh good! You’ll love this, and I would make it for Valentine’s too if we didn’t just have it for dinner! I think I’ll make a nice salmon. Enjoy and let me know how it turned out! Happy V day!
I had this dish at the beginning of the week – minus the brown butter. This is a favorite in our house – whenever I see fresh broccoli rabe in the market. I like you addition of lots of hot pepper.
I know…I shouldn’t have. But the brown butter just sounded so good. I never used butter in a pasta sauce, alway olive oil, not something I would make a habit of, for sure!
I love your pasta recipes and don’t tire of them at all. This is wonderful, I love it’s simplicity and I know it is full of flavor!
Thank you…sometimes I wonder if I’m boring everyone to tears with pasta recipes! I wonder if pasta is not in fashion anymore…move over for whole grains…like farro!
Pasta will always be in fashion, it’s like the little black dress of food, classic and it is delicious!!
hahaha. good one.
I have been flicking through my reader and noticed a few damn tasty looking meals this morning, but this is at the top. It’s making me hungry for breakfast (it’s only 5:45am out here)…
Wait a minute… are you in Hawaii? That’s my first guess since you are 5 hours behind us. Thanks and if you think about it…sausage is a fine choice for breakfast.
In Oz my friend! And that’s a valid point!!
Oh! Of course, Oz! :)
Not the oz with Dorothy and the wizard though :)
Very delicious and healthy looking pasta dish!
Thank you! Nice to see you here today…
This looks simply delicious! I’m wondering why I haven’t used orecchiette in my own cooking before..thank you for the inspiration and a beautiful recipe.
Do try orecchiette! It’s a great shape for a chunky sauce. Thank you for your kind compliment! :)
Officially salivating. This looks wonderful
:) Know what you mean…I seem to look at blogs when I’m hungry and torture myself. Thank you!
Looks absolutely mouth-watering. Never met a pasta dish I didn’t like. So, keep them coming! Btw, I’m not sure if you knew I started a blog party called Fiesta Friday. Would absolutely be thrilled if you could join. Bring along a pasta meal, or any meal. Whatever comes out of your kitchen is always a hit! XOXO
Same here…love pasta, except if it has bell peppers in it. Can not eat bell peppers! I have been seeing your Fiesta Friday, sounds fun! Let me see if I can get it together for next week! :) sweet or savory?
How ’bout both? :-)
Another winner Seana, I love this style of quick sauté sauce, pulled together while the pasta is cooking.
Thank you Sandra! Me too..it makes dinner come together nice and smoothly. Agree.
This sounds so, so good. And a break from chocolate overload in the blogging universe. Loving all the flavours here. :-D
You noticed that too? Happy Valentine’s Day….
That sounds and looks incredible! Yum!
Such a nice combination. I haven’t had any broccoli rabe this winter. Need to remedy that.
Thank you Michelle, hope you find some broccoli rabe, and so something really nice with it, like this. :)
That’s it. Pasta for dinner tonight!!
Glad I had convinced you! What’d you make?
Something not that similar but it’s here if you want a peak http://foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/baked-pasta-with-pork-and-sage-meatballs-and-kale/
I just did! It’s awesome!
Thank you very much my friend!
We too love orecchiette in our home, especially my girls. Orecchiette with sausage and rapini was a favourite of mine growing up but I have yet to make it a favourite for my girls. Your dish looks delish!
Really? This is a first time for me to use this combination and I absolutely love it. My son (he’s 15) liked it but I noticed he was pushing the rapini to the side after a few bites :). He didn’t have a problem with the sausage though!
This looks perfect for an autumn night… Will have to try this when the weather gets cooler [is summer in Sydney and so hot & sticky].
Hot and sticky! Not here….very wet, windy, cold and rainy! Stay cool, and thank you for your visit. :)
Looks delicious! Never heard of rapini though and never seen anything like it in the vegetable counters, but I suppose you can use ordinary broccoli just as well. Happy Valentine’s day! :-)
Yes! I think you can use broccoli for sure, or kale if you like it. I liked the leafy green”ness” the rapini provided and it is very similar to kale or even chard. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too! :) Thank you for visiting!
never hold back on pasta!! This looks so wonderful! Thanks for sharing.
ok..I’ll keep posting them. Thank you for your encouragement. And I love “peanutbutterandonion”! :)
23 pasta recipes? That’s not too many – I think you could squeeze a few more in ;)
Never tried orecchiette but if it holds extra sauce I’m totally on board!
Thank you! I agree and most likely will continue to post more and more. Do pick up orecchiette next time you are wandering around the store without a list! :)
And I thought browning butter was a bad thing! I should give this recipe a go. Yay to using chicken sausage, Seana. Love pig, not pork. I like how you include the pig in the photo. Gave me an idea for a table top shoot.
Good! This is the first time I have ever used butter in a pasta dish and it was good! Won’t make a habit of it though. :) Yay to you getting an idea from the pig in the photo! Will we see it too?
I love pasta prepared this way. It’s such a great mix of flavors. Great idea, too, using browned butter. I can’t wait to give it a try.
John! Hi there. I was so happy to see you return and now you are here. Thank you for your comment, I always love to hear what you have to say, especially when it comes to my pasta dishes. :)
Oh but it’s been so cold and there’s really nothing better than brown butter and a filling bowl of pasta to warm you from the inside out. Don’t apologize for the temptation. Indulge. This recipe looks so wonderful. I bet it always smells so good in your house.
Thank you Amanda, right back at you as far as the heavenly smells of wonderful food in the house. Indulge is our motto this winter. Something about the long winter has us nibbling well into the night. But, we did hear the sound of spring birds out this morning….we’ll see.
Looks delicious!! Bring on the pasta :) especially with a winter like this, I’ll indulge in all the carbs and brown butter (!) I want, I say!
Hi there! Precisely. This winter has left us deserving of this very type of dinner. I’ve had to go on some extra long bike rides just to keep the carbs at bay! Nice to hear from you… :) Thank you for stopping in.
[…] have felt like eating something similar to a recipe from my friend over at Cottage Grove House (which you may find here) had posted since I saw it in the wee hours of the morning. 5:30am to be exact. But this is bound to […]
I absolutely love whatever you cook! And please, don’t hold off on the pasta posts. I just wish you lived around the corner.
Wish we cold be neighbors Lindy… Thank you so much and hope you are off to Mexico now!
Love your pasta recipes– minimal ingredients with wonderful mix of flavors. This look delectable. thanks for another great recipe…
Thank you Rhonda. I can’t help myself, I keep trying new combinations for sauces even though I really do have enough already. It’s kind of like a hobby. :)
Would you believe it, even though there are only 6 ingredients I can only buy the butter, red pepper flakes (which are difficult to find!) and Parmesan. What a difference in shopping cultures. Okay, I’m in the hix. Even so.
Really? Would think sausages to be quite common, rapini, not so much. Just as well you don’t have to consume the carbs in this one. Don’t think butter and parmesan only would be palatable!
I’ve never heard of rapini! Looks like an absolutely delicious dish though Seana! Yay for hot Italian sausage… I’ve been obsessed with sausage pasta recently. Oh, and I have no idea how I missed this post.. just found the link via Grazza’s blog so I am glad that I’ve finally visited! Yum! xx
I love sausage with pasta too Laura. Rapini is aka broccoli rabe. (Maybe you have heard of it with that name) I have made this sauté using kale and it was, as you know…very good too! Thank you for coming over to see the post, always love to hear from you!
Pure recipes again Giorgina ;-) will certainly have a loo for Rapini! And what a gorgeous towel!
What a great combination. You can post pasta recipes every day as far as I’m concerned. I could live on pasta! :-) The brown butter here makes this dish sound divine at the very least!
Hi Colleen! Nice to see you here today. I practically do live on pasta so we would get along just fine in the kitchen! I must come and see your cookies! :)
This may not be as healthy as the chick pea stew, but it looks fabulous. Perhaps I could just go heavy on the rapini and light on the sausage??
I made this tonight! So good. I’m always drawn to anything with ‘brown butter’ in the title : )