Orecchiette with Sweet Sausage & Rapini


Serves 4

1 head rapini (broccoli rabe), ends trimmed

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons

¼ cup whole skinned almonds, toasted

5 cloves roasted garlic
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes

½ cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano

¾ pound fresh pork sausage, such as sweet Italian

1 pound orecchiette (we form them ourselves with handmade dough)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Prepare an ice bath and set aside. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons salt.


Blanch the rapini for 5 minutes or just until tender. Remove rapini from the boiling water and shock in the ice bath. When the broccoli rabe is cool, drain and pat dry with a paper towel and reserve.


In a medium sauté pan over high heat, add two tablespoons olive oil and cook rapini until lightly browned.


Meanwhile, place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (be careful not to over-process). Add the rapini, garlic, hot red pepper flakes and half of the Parmigiano to the bowl of the food processor and season with salt and pepper. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup olive oil until a smooth, emulsified pesto has formed.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt.


Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add two tablespoons olive oil and heat until just short of smoking. Form the sausage into a ball like you would a meatball, season with salt and pepper, and sear until golden brown on both sides. Then, using tongs, break the sausage into small pieces and lower the heat.


Place pasta in the boiling water and cook two minutes less than indicated by the package instructions. While the pasta is boiling, add 1/4 cup pasta water to pan with the sausage.


Add the pesto and work into the sausage with tongs to form a sauce. When the pasta is al dente, add it directly to the sauce and toss vigorously. Add butter and the remaining Parmigiano, remove from heat, and toss to incorporate.


Plate and serve immediately.


Orecchiette with Red Lamb Sausage & Carrots


Serves 6 to 8 people

For the spiced sausage:

1 pound ground lamb

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon red wine


For the spice mixture for sausage:

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons garlic purée

2 tablespoons roasted red pepper purée

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon smoked paprika


For the carrot Purée:

1 pint carrot juice

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups chopped carrots

1 teaspoon sugar

Orange zest, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste


¼ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 pound orecchiette pasta (at Del Posto, we like to use orecchiette because its “little ear” shape holds sauce well. You can buy fresh or frozen orecchiette at your local Italian specialty shop, or gourmet market.)

¼ cup pecorino cheese

Extra-virgin olive oil

Breadcrumbs, for garnish



To make the spice mixture for the sausage: 

  1. In a bowl, combine spices, lamb, salt, and water. Incorporate thoroughly using your hands. Set aside.


To make the carrot puree: 

  1. Cook carrots in carrot juice until tender. Strain, and reserve the diced carrots. Puree the remaining chopped carrots. Season with orange zest, salt and pepper to taste. Fold the diced carrots into the seasoned carrot puree. Set aside.


    1. To assemble the spiced sausage: 
    2. Mound the sausage in the center of a cold pan. Cook until the bottom of sausage is crispy, and a good fond has developed. Break apart and cook through. Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of chicken stock then add the butter.


    1. While the sausage is cooking, cook 1 pound of pasta according to package instructions. Strain the pasta and return to pot when done, reserving some cooking liquid.


    1. Add sausage, pecorino, olive oil, and a little cooking water to the pasta. Stir over medium heat until creamy.


  1. Distribute among plates, and garnish with dollops of carrot puree and breadcrumbs.
  2. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Del Posto

See the recipe

How-To Tuesdays


Orecchiette, which means “little ears” in Italian, are a small, dimpled pasta shape that is traditionally served in Puglia, the “heel” on Italy’s boot and made with semolina dough. For a classic combination, try pairing orecchiette with some crumbled fennel sausage and sautéed broccoli rabe. Here, Matt Abdoo, former chef de cuisine at Del Posto, demonstrates how to form orecchiette like a true southern Italian. For extra credit, check out this video of Matt making Orecchiette with Red Lamb Sausage and Carrots, and get the recipe too!

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