In the midst of this pandemic, it is suddenly more vital than ever to support local businesses and agriculture. Fortunately, I know a local farmer or two and managed to score a dozen fresh duck eggs from my gal pal, Eliza, who went above and beyond during this crisis to make a no-contact home delivery for me. If you have local farmers near you, please, please reach out to them for your grocery supplies, as often as you can, and especially during this lock down. Local, fresh ingredients are simply the most delicious foods you can acquire.
So, with localvore plug achieved, on with this pasta dish. I’ve been utilizing Giada’s pasta recipe for several years now, as it is very simple with limited ingredients. We simply subbed duck eggs in place of the chicken eggs, and viola! Rich, scrumptious, plump pasta whenever you like, that requires just a teeny bit of effort.
Variations: not in the mood to play with dough enough to make the orecchietta? Simply skip it and cut the pasta egg noodle style instead. If you aren’t a big fan of broccoli rabe, then sub in Swiss chard, Dino kale, or Brussels sprouts. Practicing a vegetarian/vegan diet? Sub shiitake or portobello mushrooms for the sausage, or your favorite plant-based sausage, and skip the cheese.
The pasta recipes used for this dish are below:
Giada’s Fresh Pasta: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fresh-pasta-2138575
Basic Orecchiette: https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/basic-orecchiette-pasta
2 cups fresh orecchietta, cooked till al dente, or to your preference
1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed
4 links maple breakfast sausage, casings removed and discarded
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning blend
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh grated Romano
To begin, you will need to blanch the broccoli rabe in very salty water. This helps remove the vegetable’s bitterness and also helps it remain nice and green. In a medium sized stock pot, bring several cups of water to a boil. Generously salt the water then add the broccoli rabe. Blanch a few minutes, then immediately transfer the rabe to a bowl of ice water. Allow it to cool completely then remove the rabe from the ice water and chop into bite size pieces, if desired. Set aside.
In a cast iron skillet over med high flame, heat the olive oil until just shimmering. Add in the maple breakfast sausage, and as it sautes break it up into bite size pieces with a wooden spoon. Continue to saute until the sausage has browned and cooked through. Add in next the chopped rabe and continue to saute until it’s tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, dried herbs, and red pepper flakes, if using. Salt and pepper then taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
To finish, add in the cooked orecchietta and stir until well combined. Turn off the heat and add the grated Romano. Taste again and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve immediately.