Main Dishes

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Italian for “little ears,” orecchiette are pasta cups that can be made without any special equipment. This version from Boston chef Douglass Williams is served with a chicken sausage sauce and broccoli rabe.

By Yankee Magazine

Mar 15 2021

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Photo Credit : Michael Piazza

Italian for “little ears,” orecchiette are pasta cups that can be made without any special equipment. When this dough is fully mixed, it will be very smooth.

From “A Recipe for Zen,” March/April 2021


6 to 8 servings

For the pasta


2 cups semolina flour
2 cups Tipo 00 pasta flour or all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water


First, make the pasta: In a large bowl, whisk together both flours with the salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl with the back of your hand and add the water. With a fork, start from the middle of the well and stir vigorously, incorporating the rest of the flour until well combined. Once your dough comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Once rested, remove the pasta dough from the plastic wrap. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut a 1/2-inch-thick slice off the ball of dough. Cut that slice lengthwise into three strips, each about ½ inch wide, then cut the strips crosswise to make 1/2-inch squares. To form the pasta into orecchiette, take one square of dough and press it into the palm of your hand with the pad of your thumb in a twisting motion. Transfer pasta to a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve used all your dough.

Now, make the sauce.

For the sauce


2 pounds ground chicken
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
1 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped broccoli rabe
Grated Parmesan and extra-virgin olive oil, for serving


In a large bowl, toss the ground chicken with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, fennel, and chili flakes until blended. Set a large skillet over high heat and, working in two batches, cook the chicken mixture until browned, about 10 minutes per batch. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, then add chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until it floats to the surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a strainer and add to the sauce. Cook for 1 minute, add the broccoli rabe, and cook for 1 minute more. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.