Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa

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By Dr. Leah Alexander | Published on June 15, 2023 | Last Updated on March 13, 2024

Introducing the Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe recipe from Barefoot Contessa. This delightful pasta dish combines the hearty flavors of sausage and the slightly bitter taste of broccoli rabe for a satisfying meal. Orecchiette pasta, with its unique ear-shaped shells, perfectly captures the flavors of the ingredients. Together, these ingredients create a mouthwatering combination that will leave you craving for more. 

Get ready to enjoy a comforting and flavorful bowl of orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa

What Is Orecchiette With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa?

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe is a classic Italian dish that has been popularized by the TV show “Barefoot Contessa”. This dish consists of small ear-shaped pasta, spicy sausage, tender broccoli rabe, and a savory garlic and cheese sauce.

What Does It Taste Like?

The sausage adds a savory and slightly spicy note, while the broccoli rabe brings a pleasant bitterness. When cooked properly, the bitterness of the broccoli rabe is balanced by the richness of the sausage and the garlic-infused olive oil. 

Overall, this dish offers a delightful blend of savory, slightly spicy, and bitter flavors that come together harmoniously.

How Did I First Get Introduced Orecchiette With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa?

I first got introduced to Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa when I was watching an episode of the Food Network show in 2019. 

The episode was called “The Comfort Food Chronicles” and it featured Ina Garten making the dish. I was immediately drawn to the dish because of its simple ingredients and rustic flavors.

I loved how Ina Garten made it look so effortless to prepare. I decided to give it a try that same night, and to my delight, it turned out to be a huge hit with my family. 

Ever since that day, I’ve been regularly making this delicious pasta dish, and it has become one of our favorite go-to meals.

How To Make Orecchiette With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa?

Making this delicious Italian pasta dish at home is surprisingly easy. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps and you will have a delicious meal in no time:

You can also read the following lunch Recipes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed: Sweet Italian sausage adds a savory and slightly sweet flavor to the dish. Remove the casings before cooking.
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil: High-quality olive oil enhances the overall taste of the dish and provides a rich and smooth mouthfeel.
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced: Thinly sliced garlic cloves add a wonderful aroma and depth of flavor to the dish.
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes: The crushed red pepper flakes give a subtle heat and a touch of spiciness to the dish. Adjust the amount according to your desired level of spiciness.
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces: Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, adds a slightly bitter and earthy taste. Trim and cut it into manageable pieces for cooking.
  • Kosher salt: Kosher salt is used to season the dish, enhancing the flavors of all the ingredients. Adjust the amount based on your taste preferences.
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta: Orecchiette pasta is a small ear-shaped pasta that holds sauce well. Its unique shape provides a delightful texture in each bite.
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds a nutty and salty flavor that complements the other ingredients. It also helps to create a creamy texture when combined with the sauce.
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts: Toasted pine nuts add a delightful crunch and a subtle nutty flavor to the dish. They provide a nice contrast to the tender pasta and sausage.

How To Blanch The Broccoli Rabe For Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe And Sausage?

Here are the steps on how to blanch broccoli rabe for Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Trim the broccoli rabe and cut it into 2-inch pieces.
  • Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until it is bright green and slightly tender.
  • Immediately transfer the broccoli rabe to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
  • Drain the broccoli rabe and pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Add the broccoli rabe to the cooked pasta and sausage and toss to combine
Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa

Step By Step Recipe of Orecchiette With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa 

Step one

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sweet Italian sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
  • Cook the sausage, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes until it’s browned and fully cooked.
  • Transfer the cooked sausage to a bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the skillet.

Step two

  • In the same skillet, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  • Add the thinly sliced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet.
  • Cook for 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.

Step three

  • Add the trimmed and cut broccoli rabe to the skillet.
  • Season with salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the broccoli rabe is tender.

Step four

  • Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 9 to 11 minutes or until al dente.
  • Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

Step five

  • Add the cooked orecchiette pasta to the skillet with the broccoli rabe and sausage.
  • Toss everything together, adding enough of the reserved pasta water to make a creamy sauce.
  • Stir in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Step six

Serve the Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe hot and enjoy the delicious flavors!

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa

Introducing the Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe recipe from Barefoot Contessa. This delightful pasta dish combines the hearty flavors of sausage and the slightly bitter taste of broccoli rabe for a satisfying meal. Orecchiette pasta, with its unique ear-shaped shells, perfectly captures the flavors of the ingredients. Together, these ingredients create a mouthwatering combination that will leave you craving for more.
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Author: Dr. Leah Alexander
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Rest Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 420kcal

Equipment

  • large skillet
  • wooden spoon
  • Slotted spoon
  • Large pot (for boiling pasta)
  • Colander (for draining pasta)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cutting Board
  • knife
  • Serving bowls or plates

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sweet Italian sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
    Cook the sausage, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes until it's browned and fully cooked.
    Transfer the cooked sausage to a bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  • In the same skillet, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.
    Add the thinly sliced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet.
    Cook for 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant but not browned.
  • Add the trimmed and cut broccoli rabe to the skillet.
    Season with salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the broccoli rabe is tender.
  • Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 9 to 11 minutes or until al dente.
    Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
  • Add the cooked orecchiette pasta to the skillet with the broccoli rabe and sausage.
    Toss everything together, adding enough of the reserved pasta water to make a creamy sauce.
    Stir in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.
  • Serve the Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe hot and enjoy the delicious flavors!
Keyword: orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe barefoot contessa

Nutrition Information

  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 420
  • Total Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 25mg
  • Sodium: 580mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 48g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 19g

What To Serve With Orecchiette With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa?

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe, a flavorful dish from Barefoot Contessa, pairs well with a variety of sides to enhance your dining experience. Here are some delicious options to serve alongside:

  • Crusty Bread
  • Green Salad
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Garlic Bread
  • Caprese Salad

How To Store Orecchiette With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa?

To properly store Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe (Barefoot Contessa recipe), start by allowing the dish to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer the pasta and sausage mixture into airtight containers. It’s best to use separate containers for each portion to make reheating easier. 

Ensure that the containers are tightly sealed to prevent any air from entering, which can cause the dish to spoil faster. 

Store the containers in the refrigerator, where the Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe can be kept for up to three days. 

When ready to enjoy, simply reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through, and serve fresh.

Can Pregnant Woman Eat Orecchiette With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa?

Pregnant women should be mindful of their food choices, as some foods may be harmful to the fetus. However, in general, Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe is safe to consume during pregnancy as it is cooked thoroughly and contains healthy vegetables and protein.

It is important to ensure that the recipe’s sausage is fully cooked to avoid any risk of foodborne illness. 

Pregnant women should also avoid consuming raw or undercooked meats, unpasteurized dairy products, and certain types of fish that high in mercury.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Type Of Sausage To Use In Orecchiette With Sausage And Broccoli Rabe Barefoot Contessa?

While the recipe traditionally calls for sweet Italian sausage, you can experiment with different types of sausages to suit your taste. Spicy Italian sausage or even chicken sausage can add a different level of flavor to the dish.

Can I Substitute The Broccoli Rabe With Another Vegetable?

Yes, if you’re not a fan of broccoli rabe or can’t find it, you can substitute it with other greens such as broccoli florets, kale, or Swiss chard. Just be mindful of adjusting the cooking time accordingly as different greens may require varying cooking times.

Can I Make This Dish Vegetarian?

Absolutely! You can omit the sausage entirely and use vegetarian sausage alternatives or substitute it with mushrooms to add a meaty texture. Additionally, vegetable broth can be used instead of chicken broth for a vegetarian version.

Can I Use A Different Type Of Pasta?

While orecchiette pasta is traditionally used in this recipe, you can experiment with other shapes. Shells or fusilli work well as alternatives, as they can hold the sauce and ingredients nicely. However, keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the pasta shape you choose.

Conclusion

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe from Barefoot Contessa is a delectable dish that brings together robust flavors and comforting textures. 

The combination of savory Italian sausage, bitter broccoli rabe, and al dente orecchiette pasta creates a satisfying meal that will leave you craving for more. 

With the right balance of spices and a creamy sauce, this dish is a crowd-pleaser that is both hearty and delicious. 

Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with a side of crusty bread and a refreshing salad, this recipe is sure to delight your taste buds and satisfy your hunger.

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Author Profile

Dr. Leah Alexander, M.D., is a board-certified Pediatrician in New Jersey and has been working at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000.
She also has a passion for culinary arts that extends beyond the medical realm. After completing culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, she started Global Palate, LLC, a catering firm, in 2007. She ran her own six-year-old catering company and served small group parties as an owner and executive chef.

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