Orecchiette with sausage, rabe and green garlic

Every week I have a new reason to love that Mike’s new job is just blocks from the Union Square Greenmarket. This week, it was all about the spring green – young, tender broccoli rabe, spring onions and two bunches of green garlic, the first bunch of which I made into a delicious (but not very photogenic) soup, and the second of which I chopped up to add to last night’s pasta dinner.

green garlic

I love the classic combination of orecchiette pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe, and I make it often during the months when rabe is in season. I decided to change it up just a bit this time around, using a chicken and roasted red pepper sausage instead of an Italian pork sausage, and substituting chopped green garlic for the clove or three of regular garlic I usually use. It was a winning combination, lighter and brighter tasting than my normal version, and just the thing for a busy weeknight meal.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Green Garlic

1/2 box orecchiette
1/2 lb. savory chicken sausage
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1 bunch young broccoli rabe, chopped into about 1 inch lengths
1 bunch green garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or similar cheese

Get a large pot of water boiling, and when it comes to a vigorous boil, add a generous amount of salt.

While the water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil in a deep saute pan. Remove the chicken sausage from its casings and crumble into the pan, breaking it up with a spoon into bite-sized chunks. Allow the sausage to cook through until it is no longer pink, then add tomato paste and stir it through. Let the sausage and tomato paste caramelize, then add wine and stir through.

Place the broccoli rabe into the boiling salted water just briefly until it turns bright green. Remove it using a spider or slotted spoon and place it directly into the saute pan with the sausage. Add the green garlic, season with salt and stir through until well combined.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until just short of al dente, 8-10 minutes. Spoon the pasta and a little bit of its cooking water into the sausage mixture, stirring well, and allow it to finish cooking in the sauce. Off the heat, stir in about 1/3 cup of grated cheese, spoon pasta into warmed bowls and top with additional cheese.

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