Broccoli Rabe & Sausage Pasta

This pasta dish is my ultimate comfort food. If memory serves, my dad made this for dinner approximately 28 times a week throughout my childhood—it’s just that perfect and delicious. No pressure, though. Even if you make it just once, I’ll be delighted. 

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Broccoli Rabe & Sausage Pasta

Broccoli Rabe & Sausage Pasta

  • Author: Dan Pelosi

What You’ll Need

Units Scale
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound short pasta, such as orecchiette, campanelle, or mezze rigatoni
  • 2 large bunches broccoli rabe, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, for serving

What You’ll Do

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until a bit shy of al dente according to the package directions. Add the broccoli rabe 3 minutes before the pasta is done. When the pasta is al dente and the broccoli rabe is vibrant in color, drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the sausage and garlic, and cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon until it is cooked through and the garlic is beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and broccoli rabe to the sausage. Season with a generous pinch each of salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes, plus a drizzle of olive oil to help everything come together. Remove the pot from the heat and serve with plenty of Parmesan alongside for sprinkling.

Note: For a vegetarian option, chickpeas, or really any beans you like, make an amazing substitution for the sausage. Follow the recipe exactly as written, using one (15.5-ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, plus a teaspoon of fennel seeds. Delish!

Make It Step By Step With Me:

1. Bring a salted pot of water to boil and drop in your broccoli rabe. Let it boil for 3-5 minutes, until bright green. Remove from water and drop into an ice bath, to prevent from cooking further. Drain broccoli rabe, chop into bite sized pieces, and set aside. 

(You can decide what bite sized means to you.)

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot.

3. Remove sausage from casings and break into bits. Add sausage to pan and stir until brown.

(You may need to break-up sausage further in pan.)

4. Remove sausage from pan and set aside. 

5. In the same pan, add 6 cloves of garlic, salt, and red pepper.

6. Sauté until garlic is browned.

7. Boil, cook, and drain pasta.  

Look at our girls!

8. Return sausage to sautéed garlic, along with blanched broccoli rabe. Mix up until everything is warmed up and nicely combined.

9. Add extra olive oil, salt and pepper if you like. 

Serve with grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.