Foodie Friday: Broccoli Raab with Orecchiette

We had a huge harvest of a particularly bitter and strong type of broccoli raab called di rapa novantina broccoli this week. I cut and gave away a whole bunch of it, but also used a lot myself with this recipe that cuts the bitterness of raab with, basically, fat.

Yes, we’ve been eating less meat, but this is a recipe I’ve tried to ‘vegitarianize’ with pretty much zero success. You have to have fattiness to offset the strong broccoli raab taste. Meat in this particular dish just doesn’t seem replaceable. That said, you don’t need much meat to make this dish delicious!


  • 1 box orecchiette pasta
  • 2 sweet Italian sausages (you can add more if you’re more of a meat eater!)
  • approximately 8 cups rough chopped broccoli raab (I tend to go heavy on the raab because it cooks down to almost nothing)
  • approximately ½ c. shredded parmesan or pecorino
  • 1 tbs butter or olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Boil your pasta water
  • While water is boiling, take casing off of sausage and crumble it, cooking through until there’s no pink left and sausage is in small pieces
  • sautee the chopped broccoli raab with the sausage, adding in your butter/olive oil. It should decrease significantly in size, but you want to be careful not to overcook stems. They should be tender, but not mushy. Take off the heat once they get to this point.
  • Cook your pasta al dente
  • While pasta is cooking, shred your cheese
  • When pasta has finished cooking, reserve a cup of pasta water (just in case the dish tastes too dry to you, you can add a little later), then drain
  • Toss pasta in with the raab/sausage mixture, and add ¾ of the cheese.
  • Serve with remaining cheese sprinkled on top as garnish