Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Pesto & Fennel Sausage Recipe
“The sign of a great recipe is when its leftovers are just as exciting as eating the meal fresh. I love to save this fresh, homemade pesto for the next day as a spread or freeze to enjoy later.” – Joseph Carr, Founder, Josh Cellars
Our Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Fennel Sausage recipe was developed as a versatile, Italian classic that perfectly pairs with our balanced Chardonnay. The combination of the earthy fennel sausage and the sweet, nuttiness of the pesto is guaranteed to be a crowd favorite all year round.
- Sea salt
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup pistachios (walnuts or pine nuts can be substituted)
- ¼ to ½ cup olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 teaspoons fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 pound orecchiette
- Freshly grated Parmesan
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe, stir, and cook until the rabe is bright green and stems are barely tender.
- Drain and run the rabe under cold water. Let cool and then squeeze to remove any excess liquid. Separate out a handful of florets and set aside to use as topping. Roughly chop the remaining rabe.
- Transfer the chopped rabe to a food processor and add pistachios, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and ½ cup of the Parmesan; blitz until a relatively smooth mixture, adding more olive oil as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste; tweak the seasoning as needed. Set aside.
- In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, reduce heat to medium, and cook using a wooden spoon to break it up. Add the fennel seed, red pepper, and rosemary, and continue cooking until meat is brown, about 8 minutes total.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orecchiette according to package directions; drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water. Return pasta to the pot, add about 1 cup of the reserved pesto along with the spiced sausage. Toss to combine, adding a bit of the reserved pasta water as needed to moisten. Taste for seasoning and serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan. NOTE: The leftover pesto can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months.