This easy recipe for Chick Pea Pasta with Sausage + Broccoli Rabe is a healthy and satisfying dinner that can be on the table in 20 minutes!
Orecchiette with sweet Italian sausage and broccoli rabe is a classic southern Italian pasta dish that's been a favorite of mine for years. I love the way the little round "ear" shaped pieces of pasta scoop up the flavorful sauce made with little bits of browned Italian sausage and a tender pieces of pleasantly bitter broccoli rabe. Are you a broccoli rabe fan? It's a pretty common vegetable here in New Jersey, but I've come to realize it's anything but in many other parts of the country.
A bunch of broccoli rabe looks like long, thin stalks of broccolini flecked throughout an abundance of dark, leafy greens. Although it carries the name broccoli, the flavor is considerably different. Broccoli rabe (pronounced "rob"), also known as rapini, actually isn't related to broccoli at all. It's more closely related to turnips, which explains its distinct bitterness. If you can't find broccoli rabe, this recipe would be great with a bitter, leafy green such as mustard or turnip greens, or even kale.
The greens must first be blanched in order to rid them of some of their bitterness. You can do this right in the same water you boil the pasta, saving you on both time and dishes. The broccoli rabe will still have that distinctly bitter flavor, but it will be significantly tamed, and makes a wonderful pairing for the sweet Italian sausage.
The sausage should have some pieces of fennel seed in it, but if it doesn't, you may want to add some in while it cooks. It adds such a wonderful depth of flavor that I find essential with Italian sausage, but it's totally your call.
I was really crushed by the whole no pasta thing since I've been trying out this gluten free diet, but a friend turned me on to this new gluten free pasta that's made entirely from chick pea flour. I gave it a reluctant try and was honestly floored at how good it was.
Does it taste exactly like regular pasta? No, it doesn't. But it has a satisfying texture and a neutral flavor and it manages to curb my craving perfectly. Also, considering it's a bazillion times healthier than regular pasta, it's a total win. Unfortunately they don't make it in an orecchiette shape (yet), but any short shape, like the cavatappi I used, or rigatoni or shells, will work.
Even if I wasn't on a gluten free diet, I would eat this chick pea pasta anyway. It's very satisfying and is so much healthier than wheat pasta, making it ideal for weeknight meals. You can, of course, make this recipe with traditional wheat pasta, but I find this particular sauce pairs especially well with the chick pea pasta. I think you'll be quite satisfied with the results either way.
This has been one of my favorite weeknight dinner recipes lately because it's so quick and easy to throw together. It's super healthy, and yet is still every bit as warm and comforting as a bowl of pasta should be.
One Year Ago: Slow Roasted Salmon with Orange and Fennel
Two Years Ago: Meyer Lemon Baked Doughnuts
Three Years Ago: Lightened Up Creamed Spinach | Pomelo Bars | Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Quick Pickled Carrots + Puffed Rice Noodles
Four Years Ago: My Mama's Fish Chowder | Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette