Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Recipe

The Institute of Culinary Education has teamed up with GrowNYC for a monthly series highlighting a seasonal ingredient at the greenmarket.

Chef Sue Gonsalves, a Chef-Instructor in ICE’s Recreational program, selected broccoli rabe to feature this month. Although this cruciferous vegetable looks akin to broccoli and broccolini, Chef Sue says it’s more closely related to turnips and mustard greens.

Her recipe pairs the leafy green with ingredients that balance its bitter flavor. Sweet Italian pork sausage and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese add contrast, while garlic butter and garlic chips bump this recipe to the next level.

Chef Sue likes to blanch broccoli rabe to remove some of the bitterness and brighten its vibrant green color. To do this, she recommends bringing a pot of water up to a boil, adding salt, then letting the broccoli rabe cook for a few minutes. Have a bowl of ice water on hand so you can dunk the broccoli rabe in as soon as you pull it out of the pot in order to stop the cooking process.

To add a hint of sweetness, Chef Sue suggests adding halved grapes or diced pears or apples, depending on the season.  

Try other recipes from our greenmarket series:


Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli Rabe, Sweet Italian Sausage, Garlic Butter and Garlic Chips


  • 1 pound dried orecchiette pasta
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, case removed
  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 4 ounces of unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced for garnish
  • 1 cup canola oil (for frying garlic slices)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water for 12 minutes. Drain and reserve one cup of liquid.
  2. Blanch broccoli rabe in boiling water for four minutes and immediately place in cold water. Drain and reserve.
  3. Slice the top of the garlic head, place in a piece of foil, season with salt and black pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Close up foil and roast in a 350˚F oven for 20-25 minutes until garlic is soft and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. In a small bowl, squeeze roasted cloves out of garlic skin and add soft butter. Mix with a fork.
  5. Place canola oil in a small saucepan on medium heat and fry garlic slices until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  6. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add pepper flakes and sausage, and cook until no longer pink.
  7. Add broccoli rabe, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water, and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Mix to combine and cook for about two more minutes.
  9. Serve pasta with garlic butter and garnish with garlic chips and shaved Parmesan cheese.

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