Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Caramelized Garlic

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

I love Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe, a well-known Italian standby which pairs the richness of sausage with the gentle bitterness of broccoli's leafy cousin (also known as rapini). Add some Parmesan, and it's a perfect food-group combination: pasta, meat, greens, and cheese (The Kitchn calls this a "formula in our kitchen for quick dinners"). But I didn't have any broccoli rabe in the fridge: I had two beautiful heads of broccoli, the stuff I grew up hating, but now sort of love.

Rather than using bitterness as a way to balance the dish, this recipe for Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli, and Caramelized Garlic that I found at the Washington Post adds sweetness in the form of sun-dried tomatoes and acidity with a shot of lemon juice. Three or four cloves of garlic are also sliced and gently cooked in the fat from the sausage, a simple step that adds another dimension of flavor.

Any short pasta would work, but I find orecchiette a little starchier than others, so that when you add some pasta water and finish cooking with all the ingredients you get a creaminess and brings the whole dish together.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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