Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Orechiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Pesto

I've always had mixed feelings about Anne Burrell.  She has such a strange personality and says weird things (like calling the yummy stuff that sticks to the bottom of a pan, crud.) that turn me off but her recipes always look delicious.  So when I found out that she had a cookbook coming out I immediately put it on my Christmas list.  My parents gave it to me as one of my gifts (thanks mom and dad!) and now I have half the book covered in post it notes.  I really enjoy reading cookbooks as much as I enjoy the recipes.  I like to get to know the story behind the chef and learn what makes them different.  One of the things I learned from reading Cook Like a Rock Star is that Anne Burrell is not a huge fan of black pepper.  Guess what, either am I.  In almost all of my recipes I write salt and pepper to taste as an ingredient however, I often leave out the pepper or put very little.  I know this may seem silly but it was almost liberating to read that salt and pepper DON'T always have to go together.  It is perfectly OK to leave out the pepper!  So from now on I am letting go of the rule that I somehow learned about where you add salt you add pepper.  Thanks Anne!

I followed this recipe pretty much word for word except I only used anout one-third of the pesto and as always I keep Pecorino Romano cheese in my house so that's what I use.  Other than that the only change I would make next time is to use the full pound of sausage.  This was a fantastic recipe and I can't wait to make some more pasta to eat with the leftover pesto! Just thinking that if you left out the sausage this would be a great meal to serve on one of those meatless nights during Lent. 

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Sausage

Source: Cook Like a Rockstar by Anne Burrell


For the Pesto:

Kosher Salt
1 bunches of broccoli rabe, tough lower stems removed, coarsely chopped into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup mascarpone

For the Pasta:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage, sweet or spicy, casings removed
1 pound orecchiette
Big fat finishing oil
Freshly grated Parmigiano


For the Pesto:

1.  Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.  Drop the rabe into the water, give it a swish, and remove it immediately, saving the water to cook your pasta in later.

2.  Reserve a cup of the rabe.  Toss the rest in a food processor and pulse, pulse, pulse until you have a coarse paste.  Add the pistachios and Parm and puree until smooth.  If it seems dry, drizzle in a little olive oil while the machine is running.  It should be slightly bitter, nutty, and creamy at the same time. Reserve.

For the Pasta:

1.  Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring a medium-high heat.  Add the sausage, using a spoon to break it up, and cook until brown and crumbly, 8-10 minutes.

2. Bring your broccoli rabe water back to a boil and toss in the pasta, cooking for 1 minute less than the package recommends.  Drain the pasta and add it, along with 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water, the reserved rabe, and two-thirds of the pesto, to the pan with the sausage.  Stir to combine and cook until the water evaporates and the pesto is clinging to the pasta.  Remove from the heat, drizzle with some big fat finishing oil, sprinkle with more Parm, and stir vigorously to combine.  Divide among bowls and serve immediately. 
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

The dish I served this in is microwave and oven safe.  It can be found by clicking here. 


All Things Yummy said...

I have her cookbook as well and have made a few really good dishes. I love her ragu- it's got such wonderful flavor.

Deb said...

Wondering what you used as your finishing oil?

The Kid said...

Great food. Looks soo fresh and appetizing!

classesncamps said...

i love this food...

Kristen Dockery said...

Italian food has always been my favorite food. Ever since I could remember I have loved it, I think it's because my mother also loved it so she would always make it when I was younger. I would love to learn how to make this dish and prepare it for my mom.