Friends, Bloggers, and Bartolini! Lend Me Your Orecchiette!

I don’t know about you but when I “finish” writing an entry, I will return to it, editing and re-editing, right up until the minute it’s posted. Even then, I often make changes to it once it’s been published. A few months ago, in an effort to curtail my madness, I started posting my entries at the same time every Wednesday just to give myself a deadline for these corrections. Why do I mention this?

Well, I’ll be writing this entry before I leave for my visit with Zia and family and it will be posted about the time I’m heading back to Chicago. That means I’ll have a week to look at it with little chance to make corrections because of the sorry state of that area’s internet coverage. (If Dante’s Inferno had included a Tenth Circle in Hell, surely this would have been it.) So, I’m going to keep this post relatively short, hopefully keeping my errors to a minimum and, therefore, saving myself much wailing and gnashing of teeth when I should be spending that time visiting with my Zia.

Last week I showed you how to make orecchiette, an ear-shaped pasta that comes to us from the Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy. At the time, I said I would share today’s recipe, a traditional pugliese dish featuring orecchiette, sausage, and broccoli rabe (rapini). This is another simple dish with the flavors of its 3 main ingredients in perfect balance. Although you can certainly alter the quantities to suit your own tastes, try to keep that balance in mind. The dish also offers a little heat because of the red pepper flakes. If you use a spicy sausage here, you may wish to reduce the amount of these flakes or eliminate them altogether. On the other hand, I use my family’s sausage recipe, which is quite mild, so I add a healthy amount of red pepper flakes to the dish. The rest of the recipe is easy enough to follow but be sure to check out the Variations below if, perish the thought, you don’t care for broccoli rabe.

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Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb orecchiette pasta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 oz Italian sausage
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 10 oz broccoli rabe, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup + a couple tbsp of pasta water

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Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, to be used to cook the orecchiette. Time the pasta so that it is cooked about a minute shy of al dente, per package instructions, at about the same time that the rest of the ingredients are finished sautéing.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large deep frying pan, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add the sausage meat and use a wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller pieces as it sautés.
  3. Once the meat has browned, about 5 minutes, add the onion & pepper flakes and continue sautéing until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  5. Add the broccoli rabe to the pan with a little pasta water and continue sautéing until rabe is done to your liking.
  6. Drain the orecchiette and add it to the frying pan along with the cup of pasta water, using it to deglaze the pan. Finish cooking the orecchiette in the pan as the “sauce” reduces to the consistency you prefer.
  7. Remove to a serving platter, garnished with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

Variations

For many, broccoli rabe is just a bit too bitter to be enjoyed as-is. If you find it that way, there are alternatives. In the first place, you might try blanching the vegetable in boiling water for a minute before plunging it into an ice bath. To prevent the oil from splattering, pat the rabe with paper towels before adding it to the frying pan in Step 5 above. If you like, you can save the blanching water, salt it, and use it to cook the orecchiette.

Broccoli, Broccolini, Broccoli Rabe

What if you just don’t like broccoli rabe and no amount of blanching is going to make it palatable for you? Well then, you might try substituting one of its relatives. Pictured above are broccoli on the left, broccoli rabe on the right, and the newest member of the family, broccolini, in the center. Although often called “baby broccoli”or “asparation”, broccolini is actually a cross between broccoli and a Chinese broccoli called kai-lan. Like broccoli, broccolini has no leaves and is not as bitter as rabe. Either cousin would make a great substitute for broccoli rabe in this dish.

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By any other name …

“Midas Touch”

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106 thoughts on “Friends, Bloggers, and Bartolini! Lend Me Your Orecchiette!

  1. Kind Sir: I am more than willing to lend you my eyes, albeit not my ears 🙂 ! Here in Oz broccolini rabe is not oft available as yet, but there is plenty of broccolini to ‘do the trick’! Delightful: there really is not that big a difference to the stir-fries I oft make except a ‘few sauces and condiments’!!!

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    • We Bartolini are a kind people. You can keep both eyes and ears. This really is a stir-fry, of sorts, though I doubt if any pugliese would agree to calling it that. You can call it “Francisco” for all I care. It is just plain good! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Roger. I’m not surprised that broccolini is hard to come by in your area. It is a Japanese hybrid, I was surprised to learn, and hasn’t really gone world-wide yet. Maybe it needs a YouTube video set to music to broaden its appeal.

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    • We can thank California for much of our year-round produce. In fact, an Italian brought broccoli rabe, rapini, from Sicily, where it grows wild, to California and began to grow it. Now, it is widely available here. As I mentioned to Roger, broccolini is a different matter, having been cultivated in Japan relatively recently. Although I make this dish any time the mood strikes, it is a great dish to serve in Winter. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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  2. Looks wonderful. I’ve recently come to the wonder of using sausage meat in pasta dishes. I’ll add this one to my collection, although the G.O. due to his aversion to greens will miss out on the broccoli rabe/broccolini.. oh well, more for me 😉

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    • Ah, EllaDee! We think alike! Such a pity if one doesn’t like what I’m serving. “The kitchen is that way and, before you get up, please pass the ‘offending’ dish over to me, thank you very much.” 🙂

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  3. I also seem to get a little obsessive about editing and making sure things are neat and tidy and and and, although I must admit I do (to make my life easier) schedule my posts – a little less stressful than ensuring I get my posts out at the same time every week.
    Hope you had an awesome visit with your Zia and family.
    I would LOVE to tuck into this pasta dish John – scrumptious!
    🙂 Mandy

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    • Perhaps WordPress should start up a support blog for us and our fellow sufferers. We are not alone, judging by the comments listed here.
      I did have a wonderful visit back home but the time just flew by. I’ll be heading back in September and we’ll be making ravioli and sausage to fill her freezer for the winter. My niece may join us for her first lesson in ravioli-making. Now, that will be fun!

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  4. Lovely recipe John, Italian sausages have such a distinct flavour. And to your broccoli list you could add Sprouting Broccoli 🙂 I’ve just re-sown some Rabe as the first lot sweltered in the sun and got mucnhed by slugs. Fingers are crossed for this batch.
    So you have the Midas Touch 🙂

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    • Thank you, Claire. This dish does feature a nice blend of 3 distinct flavors. And it is so very easy to prepare. I will look for sprouting broccoli, Claire. My best chance is at the farmers market. How I love going there looking for a new item! It means I have to visit each stall and go through all of the produce. YAY! 🙂

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  5. There’s nothing worse than being without internet connection. In the 70’s I would have disputed that but now, I know it to be a truth. Glad you’re having a great time with Zia but I hope the angst of the wireless world isn’t getting to you too much. And I love the look of this pasta – what a great mid-week meal xx

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    • The visit went very well, Charlie. Once I accepted that cursing under my breath — and worse — wouldn’t magically change things, I relaxed and never gave the internet a 2nd thought.
      This is a flavorful, very easy to prepare dish. Once you’ve got the pasta started, it’s just chop and add to the frying pan. Put it all together, add some cheese, and serve. My favorite kind of pasta dish to prepare, serve, and enjoy.

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  6. Buongiorno John – I was waiting for Weds and your post! I seem to have problems connecting to other people´s blogs but I persisted and am so glad I did. A lovely recipe, we have a fantastic butcher close by here in our “new” temporary home, so this will definitely be on the menu one day soon. Hope the visit with Zia goes/went well 🙂

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    • Buona sera, Tanya! I hope you’ll like this dish. It couldn’t be easier to prepare, just what’s needed after a day spent renovating. My visit was a good one and I made sure she was up-to-date with your current plans. And, yes, I showed her you sewing projects and she was impressed. By the way, you’ll always be remembered as the “Italian girl from Britain whose Grandma sat on the pasta.” 🙂

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        • Well, Tanya, that story really resonated with us. On the days preceding a holiday, every chair, table, and even bed, had pasta on it drying. That tale could have easily taken place in our home. Mentioning it brings back so many memories of our lives years ago. Thank you for that. 🙂

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  7. You just enjoy your time with your Zia!! I understand about editing and re-editing, but this post AND this recipe are perfect! I’m a fool for anything pasta dish with Italian Sausage. Yep, a pasta dish I think my family would thank me for! Hope you are having a great time Chicago!

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    • Thank you, Tanya. I had a great visit, although I should have planned for a longer stay. We spent an afternoon making orrecchiette and enjoyed this dish that night for dinner. We laughed and talked while we made the pasta and congratulated each other for a job well done as we ate. That was a very good day!

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  8. This has nothing to do with your (wonderful) recipe, or (obsessive) editing…but Kai-lan is the name of a little girl on one of Angel’s cartoons. I had no idea she was named after a vegetable 😉
    Have a safe drive home. Hope Max was a good boy. For Max, anyway…

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    • It was a pleasant ride home, perfect weather all the way, and Max was on his best behavior the entire visit. He worships my Zia and more than once I’ve caught him by the tail — quite literally — as he was darting into her room to wake her. Just what she needs! She lavishes him with attention and treats and he just laps it all up.
      Your Li’l Angel stole my Zia’s heart. The first picture I shared was the one in which she was going berry picking. Zia became a fan right then and there. 🙂

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        • I know that I’ve shown her how to get to a number of blogs but I doubt that she has accessed any, including my own. (She reads the email notifications for my posts, though — sometimes.) When I visit, we spend time getting her up-to-date on a number of blogs. Li’l Angel is now part of that discussion. How could she not be, once Zia saw that berry picking photo?

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  9. Had to smile about the compulsive editing – I don’t suffer from a severe case of this syndrome, but my husband is a hopeless case. Well, when we have to submit a research grant proposal, any mistake can be deadly, so he goes through countless (and I mean countless) rounds of editing. Back to cooking – I found a way around my mild obsession: my posts go live one minute past midnight, and even if I am awake I won’t look at it until next morning. Since the Earth continues spinning, and apparently the readers continue reading, next day I am less tempted to keep changing it.

    (Loved the title of your post, lend me your orecchiette is just too good!)

    have fun with your Zia!

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    • Thank you, Sally. My problem is that I am the world’s worst proof reader of my own material. I’ve often proof read others’ work without missing an error but when it comes to my own, I don’t see what’s written but what I wanted to write. Unfortunately, the “cloud” lifts after the post is published and then I’m in a mad dash to fix it before too many people see my lousy spelling, punctuation, and poor grammar.
      It was a wonderful visit back home and I’m already looking forward to returning in September.

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  10. This dish looks so tasty! Sausage and whatever form of broccoli one chooses would be a delicious combination with the pasta, especially the adorably, homemade orecchiette. I’m listening!

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    • Thank you, Mar! Zia and I spent an afternoon making orrecchiette and pappardelle, serving this dish that night. I really enjoy these pasta sessions with her. I’ve learned a great deal of family history as we sit and chat. My next visit will include a ravioli day & a sausage afternoon. I can’t wait!

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  11. Broccoli raab, one of my favorite vegs, and orecchiette pasta my favorite shaped pasta, great combo, I will most likely add more raab than your recipe call for.
    Thanks for posting my favorite (sorry about the repeated word) color rose.
    I am sure you are having a grand time with your Zia.

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    • I bet you’ll love this dish, Norma, and you’ll be amazed at how quick and easy it is to prepare.
      “Midas Gold” was one of the last 2 roses added to my garden. I realized that I didn’t have a true yellow bloom. As you’ll see in the weeks to come, there are a couple in which yellow is present but none where yellow is so bright. This one was exactly what I was looking for. I’m glad you like it. 🙂

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  12. There are a lot of treats in this (flawless) post, but I have to say that your photo of the different broccolis is really what makes me smile. Also, I did not know about broccolini.
    I think that one of the great, lost, advantages of letter writing was that you just had to write and launch the letters without looking back. It’s awfully tempting to edit a blog post forever.

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    • I must admit to being a bit surprised that broccolini hasn’t made it around the world yet, although it is relatively new over here, too. Once a cooking show chef or two uses it, the race is on to get the vegetable into production for the American foodies. And, of course, the price rises.
      Your perspective on letter writing is a good one and I miss those letter-writing days. It was a good day when the mail carrier brought a letter from someone special in your life.

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  13. I knew I would love this dish when I saw the photo in your last post John, with the ‘ears’. Broccoli Rabe is not something we often have so this gets it back on my radar, it’s a great choice as it is dark green and packed with vitamins. My bunny Dustie used to love it.
    I know EXACTLY what you mean about editing; sometimes when I need to look up a recipe from a few years back I wince at my lazy editing skill (or lack there of); but correcting makes me worried that subscribers will be notified that an update has been made and that would just point out how badly I edited in the first place.
    Now the question is, if you find a typo or inconsistency in someone else’s blog, do you point it out to them? In a comment, or a private email? Personally, I would appreciate it if people would tell me of a typo so I can correct it, email or comment.

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    • I do enjoy this dish, Eva, and you could cut back on the amount of orrecchiette, if you like. It’s a great combination of flavors.
      I cannot tell you the number of previous posts I’ve gone and re-edited long after they were published. I’ve even subscribed to my own blog so I’ll know if an edited version goes out again. (It’s never happened … yet.) Worse yet, I’ve even replaced photos when I’ve cooked a dish that was shared early on. I’m hopeless.
      I’m hesitant to correct others, although I will when the error would ruin the dish, like a transposition of numbers in an oven temperature. It happens to everyone and I’d rather the person just delete my comment once the error is corrected. Like you, I certainly don’t mind someone pointing out errors in my posts. In fact, I’m thankful.

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  14. Not only do I get lost in editing new posts, sometimes I’ll check back over an old post with a new comment and the rabbit trail begins. I’m with you, deadlines and consistent posting schedule helps … usually. 😉
    I like the simplicity of this dish and the way you clearly show the difference in the broccoli family. I was reading in a gardening magazine lately how harvest temperatures can make a big difference in these, even causing bitterness. That would explain the hit and miss I’ve experienced in my enjoyment of them as times.

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    • Thank you, Judy. For me, this dish’s simplicity is its strength. And it’s a pasta. That, for me, is enough to ensure enjoyment. 🙂
      I’d never heard of temperature fluctuations affecting broccoli rabe’s taste but it does make sense. I, too, have noticed that some bunches are quite mild while others are stronger in taste. It can’t be too bitter for me but I can see where others might have a problem.
      I am surprised to learn how many of our fellow bloggers are closet re-editors. You and I are in some distinguished company. 🙂

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  15. Last year when went on vacation for a week the hotel internet was down! and it was terribly annoying. I know what you mean about editing. I keep editing my posts till they get published and after too. I even edit old posts if I happen to reread them and find mistakes. The spelling mistakes in particular drive me mad
    I love your pasta dishes John. They are different from the ones I usualyy see or make and I really enjoy the inspiration. I hope your trip went great

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    • How ever did we get so dependent upon something so relatively “new” to our existence? Imagine the world your children will see. Truly incredible!
      I wouldn’t suspect you to have to ever go back over your posts, Sawsan. There are a few blogs — and yours is one of them — that I swear are edited professionally.
      I’m glad you enjoy these pastas. For many, their knowledge of pasta involves a relatively few types. My first visit to Italy was a real eye-opener and I got a glimpse at the variety — and so many are associated with a specific dish. I’m happy to share the few that I know — and the recipe testing isn’t so bad, either! 🙂
      Thank you, Sawsan, for always leaving such nice comments.

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    • I was working on this post when you were harvesting broccoli. All I could think, while looking at your photos, was how good they would have been in this dish. Fresh is certainly best in this recipe.

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  16. Yep, editing and proofing until my eyes glaze over….sounds very familiar! And the internet problems while visiting family are all too familiar. Every time I go to Alabama I have almost zero wireless or phone service…I think it must be god’s way of saying take a vacation! 🙂 My taste buds are in overdrive imagining how wonderful the sharp bitterness of the broccoli rabe would be with the sweetness of the sausage and the pepper flake to pop it all together! Terrific! And just look at that rose…the Midas Touch for sure. I hope you’ve had a lovely time with Zia and have a safe journey home, John! Great post…and I saw nary a mistake! 🙂

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    • I knew going there, Betsy, that if I allowed myself to read this post, Id find errors and go crazy trying to fix it. Literally, it took 3 full minutes to hit a “like” button, no telling if it would register, though. Sometimes, I had to do it 3 or 4 times. There is a McDonald’s about 30 miles away with WiFi but I wasn’t about to go there and start editing. I’d still be there editing!
      You’ve described this dish perfectly and I should have had you write that part of the post. It is such a simple dish but it sure does deliver on flavor.
      My visit was very good. I saw most of my family when we attended a niece’s graduation party. Except for a couple beach breaks for Max, Zia and I cooked the rest of the time. As they say, “A good time was had by all …”

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    • Since we’re being honest, I usually add more pepper flakes than indicated, along with more garlic. But that’s when I’m cooking for myself, alone. For guests, I’ll follow the recipe guidelines. In fact, right now, I’m finishing a sauce made with prosciutto and cherry tomatoes. I used enough garlic to ensure the dog will avoid me and so many pepper flakes that I’ll be in a full sweat about 10 minutes after I start eating. And all I can say is, “YUM!” 🙂

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  17. Yumm…I was waiting for this post to pop up! This is a favorite combination tho I would use the broccollini as my kids haven’t gotten use to the bitterness. Enjoy your time with Zia and your family. And don’t worry about the re-editing…it looks marvelous! 🙂

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    • Hey, Linda! Glad you enjoyed this recipe. My siblings do not care for broccoli rabe at all and I’m not sure they’d care for broccolini, either. As I’ve … um … “matured”, I’ve grown to appreciate bitter greens more and more. At one time, when I made this dish, I would have blanched the rapini before using it here. I would never do that now.
      I had a fantastic visit back home. Saw both siblings — a rarity — as well as cousins, a niece and nephew. One afternoon, Zia and I made orrecchiette and pappardelle, serving this dish for dinner that night. The next day, I started making ice cream for her and her neighbors, 5 quarts in all. I should get a Christmas card from that area’s cardiologist.
      I do so appreciate your taking time to visit here, Linda.I know how busy you are and it’s such a treat to see a comment from you. Thank you so much.

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  18. Well, although we may not have unsullied tea towels in common, we definitely share the OCD approach to blog writing trait! I go back over and over to “perfect” wording or improve on a photo.. my son thinks it’s quite hilarious and a waste of time. *sigh* I disagree.. and just looking at the end result of your post.. well, this dish definitely looks like perfection was achieved!
    ps. I have yet to make your cheese series this summer.. and I’m eyeing the canning utensils for jam.. but haven’t seem able to leave the chair on my deck:D
    pps Give Zia a big Bartolini hug for me!! xx Smidge

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    • Thanks, Barb, for you kind words but, as I just told Sawsan, there are some whose posts look professionally edited. Yours would fall into that group. Like Sawsan’s, your posts are very well written and illustrated, in a different class altogether.
      Now, don’t you dare leave that chair until you’re good and ready. Spring took a long time to get to you and Summer will be gone before you know it. You can always buy feta or strawberry jam. I’m sure there may be a morning or two this winter where you’ll miss having home-made jam. I’m even more certain that there will be many more afternoons where you’ll look out on your deck and wish you could be seated there. Do try to take advantage of these opportunites while you can. 🙂

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  19. Another wonderful dish. I like the combination of the bitterness from the rabe with the sweetness from the sausage and then the salty creaminess of the Pecorino Romano cheese all tied nicely together with the beautiful homemade orecchiette and sautéed onions and garlic with the little kick of heat on the back end. Like you said, everything about this meal is in perfect balance all singing in beautiful harmony.

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    • Thanks, Christina. We actually had this for dinner last Friday night, using orrecchiette we made that afternoon. It was every bit as good as “advertised.” Next time it’s on the menu, I’ll drop you an invite. 🙂

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  20. Hi John,

    I’ll skip the sausage if I may and double up on the Broccolini or Tender Stem Broccoli as it is known here in the UK. Very delicious but expensive!
    Have a lovely time with Zia-does she know how famous she is with us all hearing about her and her cooking through you?

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    • Thanks, GD! I actually did try to think of a vegetarian option for the sausage component but I’m not very familiar with what is available now. Things have change so much in the past few years. There are so many more options today than there once was. Now, I would eagerly devour this dish without sausage but I wish I knew of a something to supply that flavor to the other ingredients.
      Every time we talk or I go home, I share different posts with her. She, much like me, is amazed that so many are interested in the family’s recipes. The fact that you and others are in the UK, Celia and Charlie in Oz, Tanya up on her mountain in Spain, Mandy in S.A., Celi on her farm, is quite remarkable to us both. Oh, yes. She knows!

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    • Thank you, Celia! Judy, in an earlier comment, mentioned that she had read that the harvesting temperatures could affect the vegetable’s bitterness. I’ve had bunches of rapini that, in comparison, were not at all bitter. Just remember if you find it too bitter, you can give it a quick blanch in boiling water. That will moderate the taste for you. Good luck, though, growing it. I’m jealous! 🙂

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  21. I am sure you’ve had a wonderful time with Zia and although it’s very hard for a blogger to be without a steady “connection” I think it is somehow good for us once in a while. I say that knowing how hard I personally struggle with it! One of my work roles is editing, and I can obsess over the details of a line when no one else cares or notices…so I do understand that last minute and post-publishing oversight, too, but I’ll tell you that your post today is just great! The variations on an already wonderful theme just point out how versatile a dish this is, and I will go for the broccolini every time! Another gorgeous rose. You have the touch! Debra

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    • Thank you, Debra, for your encouraging words regarding editing and this post. I think the problem here is not the written word but with its editor. I need to just relax with it.
      I really did enjoy my visit. Max and I got some much-needed beach time, Zia and I made pasta and cooked together, and I got to see quite a few members of my family at my niece’s graduation. The only problem worth mentioning was that it was too short – but I’ll be back next month!

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  22. I know you are enjoying your time with Zia and your post is perfect…as is your recipe. Just the way I prepare it but I use hot Italian sausage along with the red pepper flakes. I usually blanch my rabe.

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    • Hello, Karen, and thank you for leaving such a nice comment. I really did enjoy my visit and am looking forward to next time. I, too, usually use more red pepper flakes when I fix this dish for myself, as I mentioned it a previous comment to Mad Dog. This is more my “company version”, the recipe I use when I have guests. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Jed, for not just commenting but for bringing attention to that oft-neglected — especially on a food blog — gland, the prostate. You’ve made my urologist subscribers very happy.

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  23. I’m the same way–I’m always editing my posts. I’ll think of a different word to use, or think of something else I’d rather say…drives me nuts! But after I post, I try to just move on and not look back, haha. Anyways, this orecchiette dish sounds amazing. You and your crazy pasta making skills! So impressive.

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    • As I’ve mentioned to others, Caroline. We need to create a support group for those of us with this editing. I’ll supply the pasta for the meetings. We are going to eat, right? Seems hardly worthwhile to get all of us foodies together without some sort of food being served. 🙂

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  24. Great dish! I’ve made a similar dish before, though not with orecchiette. I should, because it looks particularly nice with that pasta shape. And I fuss with my posts too! Anyway, good stuff – thanks.

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    • I’m sure this has been made with a variety of pastas and vegetables, too. I like the combo presented here and the post was just short enough that I didn’t drive myself crazy fretting over endless corrections in the Land that DSL Forgot.
      Thanks for dropping by,

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  25. Another beautiful and amazing dish. I do the same with most of my post as well. Takes me sometimes all day to decide what to post then make revisions. Yours are always perfect.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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  26. John, I was thinking of making oricchiette today and your post about it. Well, I still hesitate to start, don’t ask why, because I don’t know. I guess I am just afraid it won’t come out right, if there is a right way to make it. Silly excuse, ha?! 🙂 Maybe I should have an oricchiette party, you know, invite people to make it first, and then eat a great meal… OK, I should stop now…
    I love broccolini, it’s tender taste and flavor. Need to wait when it’s available in stores, if ever in our food desert.

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    • Oh, Marina! I wish I lived closer. I would come over and in an hour, you’d have all the orrecchiette you need. (And probably a few less glasses of wine, too.) The instructions are complete; there hare no hidden steps. It really is that easy. And as I said in the post, don’t obsess over perfection. You’ll get better and better at making them. And, once broccolini is available, if you still don’t want to make them, by a box of orrecchiette. I wont’t tell anyone. Promise! 🙂

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      • Oh, no, I am not buying it. That’s definitely “to make” task. There’s nothing better than the time you spend with family (and/or friends) making the dish, and having a feast after! 🙂 From time to time we have a tortellini party, when a few families get together, and make tortellinis from scratch. For some reason, I am always in charge of making the dough… Those moments are priceless: we laugh, we tell stories, we drink wine and without even noticing fresh tortellinis are boiling in the pot! So next gathering I will declare tortellinis and orrecchiette, it’ll be fun. You are welcome to join the party, John! 🙂

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        • I’m so glad to read your response, Marina. Zia and I have “ravioli days”, “sausage afternoons”, you name it. All are fun and we spend the time laughing as much as we do the task at hand. Next visit, my niece may join us so that I can teach her how to make cappelletti, my family’s soup ravioli. Now, that should be fun!

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  27. What is it about Italian Sausage and pasta? It’s like they were made for each other. Every time I think of making a pasta dish, I want to add Italian sausage to it. It’s so good! Therefore, you know how much I would love this recipe, especially with homemade orecchiette! Now I need to go see how that’s made. Oh, I am so much like you! I edit right up to publication and then even afterwards!

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    • I’ve said it before, we over-editors need a support group.
      I so agree with you about sausage and pasta. When I make our family sausage, I rarely make links now. I make 6 – 7 ounce patties, usually a dozen or so at a time, and that saves plenty of time. When needed, i thaw one or two, crumble them and add that to my tomato sauce or dishes like today’s recipe. THe sausag really adds so much more to the dish every time.

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  28. Ooooo!!! Yes, please! I know I’ve said this a zillion times, but your blog is the best Italian cookbook a girl could have. I am SO grateful to you John, for showing me all the food I love….and showing me how to make it the right way. Thank you! You are the best.

    I hope you’re home safe and that your trip was fabulous!

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    • I’m home, with my traveling circus and we’re all safe and sound.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Sarah, and hope you do give it a try. Don’t get all hung up making the orrecchiette. You can buy them by the box, you know. This dish is the real deal and like much of Italian cuisine, very easy to prepare. Like it spicy: use hot sausage and red pepper flakes. Want it very mild: use mild sausage and no pepper flakes. And, depending upon your preferences, you have 3 types of broccoli to chose from. Give it a try, Sarah. You’re gonna love it!

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  29. Perish the thought!! Not liking their vegetables! This is indeed a perfect balance of tastes.. and I am SO looking forward to making the family sausage.. with my family grown sausage!! If i read correctly you might be on the way home now so we all wish you god speed.. take the back roads!! go slow, I hate those big trucks don’t you? c

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  30. I tell you, Celi, you are going to be making the best sausage possible. With that pork — well-fed pork, I might add — your sausage will be flavorful and not because you dumped a ton of spices and herbs into it. You are in for such a trea!
    We’re back now, Celi, and the trip home was fine. I leave there early but not too early in an effort to avoid the deer. Had a great time with Zia and got to see much of my family at my niece’s graduation party. Throw in a pasta-making afternoon with Zia and beach time with Max and I had a very nice visit. I’m looking forward to next month, when we’ll be making ravioli and sausage. I really love those sessions with her. 🙂

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  31. Great post John! I rather eat orecchiette with broccoli rabe since I like the bitterness of its taste. I also remember our last trip to Puglia where we ate orecchiette with cherry tomatoes and burrata, which is every common in this region during summertime.

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    • Thank you so much, Ambrosiana. I really enjoy rapini and this dish is perfect for me.
      I only recently discovered a store that carries burrata and now I’m searching for recipes other than crostini/bruschette. With my cherry tomatoes just starting to ripen, this pugliese dish you mentioned would be perfect. I need to search for the recipe. It sounds too good to pass up. 🙂

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  32. We have an Asian market not too far (20 miles) from us where we can get broccoli rabe most of the time. I don’t get there often enough but love the bitter leaf and with a spicy sausage, it would be just right! From time to time we’ll get a good Italian turkey sausage and I’ll save this recipe for when we do and when the days are just a little cooler. I never ever read a post of yours John when I don’t learn something or feel elevated somehow. Thank you, always, for that.

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    • Thank you, Spree, for leaving such a wonderful comment. It means a lot.
      Broccoli rabe is one vegetable that we can get here year-round and I take full advantage. This dish is about as simple as can be. Start your pasta, add ingredients, one by one, to a frying pan, combine the ingredients into one pan, and serve. It really is that easy and the reward is one tasty meal. I do hope you try it, Spree, You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

      Like

  33. I thought I was following your blog, but that was not the case. What goodies I’ve missed! Now I’m signed up. Love broccoli rabe. It holds its flavor/texture so much better than regular broccoli.

    Love your visitor map. Don’t you find the country stats fascinating? Not sure how you built your map, but I’m going to work on figuring it out. I hope you don’t mind – my best form of flattery 🙂

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    • Welcome to the club! I, too, am a big fan of broccoli rabe and it really does make this dish something special.
      I’ve sent you an email with instructions for installing the map, as I’ve done with a few others. You shouldn’t have any problems but feel free to drop me an email if you do. We’ll should be able to handle them quickly enough. 🙂

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  34. I actually had a similar dish on our menu for this week. Sadly our week just got too busy and I never got to it, but now that I have your version, I may just have to put it back on next week’s menu. 🙂 I hope you had a great visit with Zia John!

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    • It was a great visit, thank you, Kristy. I even made this dish one night for our dinner. I do hope you plan on blogging your dish. I’m sure I’d love to give it a try. 🙂

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  35. Pingback: Flat Ruthie: Miracle Worker (Part 1) | Cardboard Me Travels

    • Thanks, Greg. This is a favorite and now that the farmers markets have plenty of broccoli rabe on-hand, I make it frequently. (Don’t tell anyone but, more often than not, I use store-bought orrecchiette.)

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  36. Well, it seems as though I am still not receiving your posts properly! Although it says I am “following” you… Then today, I went to leave Celi a little msg on her post and it asked me for a password! What on earth?? Anyway, it looks as though I will need to make sure that I am stopping by your blog on a regular basis so I don’t miss out on anything!

    First let me say that I can’t imagine your blog having so many errors that you would have to fret about editing! It’s always lovely and perfect. And second, I would go off of my gluten-free and dairy -free diet for a day if I could have a huge serving of your orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe! I wouldn’t even mind if it made me ill for a week! Ha!

    Hope you had a lovely time visiting family ~ April

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    • I wish, April, I could offer some assistance. This problem has hit a few people and the only thing I’ve heard people try is to unsubscribe and subscribe to the blog. There’s a setting on the page where you manage subscriptions and you can set how frequently you wish to receive notifications of posts. I’ve noticed that a few of mine have been set to “Never” and I’ve no idea how.
      I give you such credit, April, for meeting your dietary restrictions head-on. If there’s a gluten-filled dish or one with dairy that you once enjoyed, you make it a goal to find or create a GF or DF alternative. Should I ever face those restrictions, yours will be the first blog I check. No doubt about it.

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  37. I love love love broccoli rabe (and orecchiette)! I can’t find it here in Germany, where I live, so I started growing it on my own. It was the one thing I was having trouble living without after coming here from the states, where it is available almost year round and in every grocery store. I love to make this dish with fresh cherry or grape tomatoes instead of the sausage. Although your version sounds lovely too!
    Laura

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    • You’re right, Laura. Broccoli rab can be found here any time I want it — and I take full advantage. I’m always cooking with fresh cherry tomatoes and I’m eager to give your version a try. It sounds like a tasty alternative. Now ‘m off to subscribe to your blog. We broccoli rab lovers need to stick together! 🙂

      Like

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