Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

I had the in-laws over for dinner last night and I wanted to make something simple but hearty and delicious. This Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage dish is from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook was the perfect solution. It was easy to make and I made a couple of edits (ok, several) that better suited the ingredients that I had at home (sometimes Ina gets uppity with her ingredients—what is broccoli rabe anyway?).

Rendezvous sausage plate

On Wednesday night, Jacobs had some guys over and I made a Rendezvous sausage plate (just grilled kielbasa sausage with cheese dusted in a barbecue seasoning). It makes for a great appetizer or a dish for a football party. The Rendezvous in Memphis serves it with crackers, peppers and pickles (yum!).  I had a bunch of kielbasa left over so I ended up using it in the orecchiette dish the next night. I also couldn’t find orecchiette at my local grocery so I used rotini (guess I should stop calling it an orecchiette dish then). I also used broccoli florets because I had some in the fridge (and because the teenage-employee at Kroger looked at me like I was speaking a different language when I asked him if they had broccoli rabe). I guess that I can officially change this recipe’s name to “Rotini with Broccoli and Kielbasa.” Forget Ina … this recipe has officially become mine (a dumbed down version of Ina’s fancy pants dish).

Rotini with Broccoli and Kielbasa

Rotini with Broccoli and Kielbasa
1/2 pound Kielbasa
1/2 pound hot Kielbasa
1/3 cup good olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans crushed tomatos
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Rotini pasta
2 bunches broccoli
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Rotini with Broccoli and Kielbasa
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the sausages with a fork and place them on a sheet pan. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until just cooked through.  Slice 1/2 inch thick and set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset.  Add the sausage slices and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pieces are browned.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and their juices, the red wine, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and let the mixture simmer over low heat while you prepare the pasta and broccoli.

Bring a very large pot half filled with water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt.  Add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes exactly.  While the pasta is cooking, trim the broccoli to make florets.  When the pasta has cooked for 9 minutes, add the broccoli to the pasta and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is crisp-tender.  Drain in a large colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and add the pasta and broccoli to the pot with the tomato and sausage mixture.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon of salt.  If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.  Taste for seasonings, and serve hot with extra Parmesan on top.

Rotini with Broccoli and Kielbasa

Serve with a Ceaser salad and THIS amazing Smoked Mozzarella Pizza Bread from FoodieCrush.com (one of my favorite food blogs). I have made it twice now and it’s always a big hit!