Pasta for Dinner

With kids heading back to school next week and the return of hectic schedules I look to easy meals to feed my crew.  Pasta for dinner is a family weeknight meal that makes eating together easier to achieve!  As often as possible we try to eat dinner, sitting around our table, together.  As a mom of 4 growing kids  (teens and pre-teens), I am cooking more than ever – more often and larger amounts – and am busier than ever.   So, recipes need to deliver…appeal to everyone, be easy and quick to make, be nutritious, and of course, be delicious!

I’ve cut back on the amount of pasta I eat, however, I do LOVE it! (Almost as much as shoes!)  So, when I make it it has to be worth it!  I tend to wing it when I cook, so the recipe that follows is my version of:

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sweet Italian Sausage: (Makes 6 servings)

1 lb Orecchiette pasta

1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage (remove from casing)

2 bunches broccoli rabe (washed and cut into 1″ pieces)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

fresh Italian parsley, chopped


1.Bring large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.  Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente.  When you drain be sure to reserve some of the salted cooking water to add to pasta at end.

2. Put about 1″ of water at bottom of a large saute pan and place cleaned and chopped broccoli rabe. Cover and cook/steam on medium heat until very tender.

3. In another large saute pan, place sausage removed from casing.  Break it up into small pieces and cook until fat renders and is fully cooked.  Once cooked, remove sausage and set aside.  If there is a lot of fat from sausage pore excess out but do not completely clean pan.

4. In same skillet as sausage was cooked add about 3 TBSP of olive oil to remaining fat and slowly saute the garlic until soft (do not burn).  Once softened, add the cooked sausage back to pan.

5. Once broccoli rabe is tender, drain to remove most of the water. (I use a colander) Once drained put broccoli rabe into pan with sausage and mix together.

6. Add cooked pasta to sausage and broccoli rabe mixture.  Mix together adding a small amount of the reserved cooking water. (I use about 3 large ladles or to desired consistency).  Give a good stir to deglaze bottom of pan.  I add a bit more olive oil as well and I taste.  If needed, I will add some kosher salt.  Add the fresh parsley and mix together.

Suggest serving with fresh Pecorino-Romana cheese (prefer Locatelli brand) and crushed red pepper flakes on side (for those that like some spice and cheese),  a garden salad and sliced, fresh french baquette.

Fresh parsley ready to join the party!


Sweet Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe awaiting the pasta.


Sliced fresh bread as centerpiece.


The finished product plated with garden salad a few slices of bread.

The whole family enjoys Orrechiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sweet Italian Sausage….Bon Appetite!!

What is your favorite pasta dish?  Thanks for stopping by….Cynthia