Mario Batali’s Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Pasta
- 1 pound Orrecchiette Pasta (instructions included for making fresh pasta)
- 2 cups Semolina Flour (plus more for dusting-if making fresh pasta)
- 1/3-1/2 cup warm Water
- 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus more for garnish)
- 1 1/2 pounds Hot Italian Sausage (casing removed)
- 1 bunch Broccoli Rabe (rinsed and chopped)
- 1 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes (optional)
- 1 cup Pecorino (freshly grated)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
To make fresh pasta, put the semolina flour on the cutting board and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the water a little at a time, stirring with a fork and hands until dough is formed. You may need more or less water, depending on the humidity in your kitchen.
Knead it like bread until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover the dough and let it stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Roll the dough into dowels about 3 to 4 inches long and 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1/4 to 1/3-inch thick pieces. Press the center of each disk with your thumb to form saucer-shaped pasta. Place the orecchiette on a sheet tray that has been dusted with semolina flour, cover the pasta with a clean dish towel, and set aside until ready to use. At this point, the pasta can be frozen for several months.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta about 3 to 4 minutes or 1 minute short of the package instructions and drain, reserving pasta water.
Heat a large dutch oven or sauté pan with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon or potato masher, until browned, about 8 minutes.
Add the broccoli rabe to the pan, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat in the pan drippings. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, just until tender. Deglaze with a cup of reserved pasta water, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the pasta and toss to coat. Cook for 1 minute and remove from the heat.
Add the freshly grated Pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss to coat until creamy. Serve with extra Pecorino and red chili flakes.