Meat and Poultry, Pasta, Pizza, Risotto

Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage

Loreto May 31, 2019

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Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage, bold flavors meet lovely textures in a great Italian Classic, that is an easy quick dish perfect for those busy work week dinners! 

Song of the day: “Un Senso” by Vasco Rossi.

Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage-in the plate with cheese

Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage is a full meal deal all in one dish. Beautiful pasta tossed with wonderfully sauteed sausage and rapini, dusted with some Pecorino Romano to finish the plate. Visually beautiful, aromatically alluring, and so so tasty. Try it tonight!



Meeting a Star Chef and Being Inspired 

This pasta dish has been on my mind for quite some time. A few years back Nicoletta and I went to the Home Show and it was there that we had the pleasure to watch Massimo Capra cook up a very classic Italian dish Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage. We also got to meet and take a picture with him. A true milestone moment for two foodies like Nicoletta and I. That day I tasted that dish and in my mind made a mental note ” have to do this for the blog”, and so it is………………

Let’s dive right in!

This recipe is so easy all you will need is:

  • Orecchiette Pasta
  • a bundle of rapini
  • some good quality Italian sausage
  • extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  • garlic
  • peperoncino
  • Pecorino Romano cheese

You can find all these ingredients at the nearest Italian market in your area or even the larger retail grocery stores.

Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage-prapini and sausage in the pan

Why Orecchiette?

It is kind of funny, however orecchiette in Italian means small ears, and it just so happens the pasta has a shape resembling that, hence the name Orecchiette “small ears”, lol. Pretty simple, eh!

Time to Fill the Kitchen with Beautiful Aromas!

So firstly we have to clean, wash and cut up the rapini. Secondly, start a nice pot of salted water on boil. Thirdly, saute the sausage and rapini. Lastly, cook the pasta and toss it in the pan with those lovely greens and golden caramelized morsels of pure Italian delight!

Some helpful hints……..

If you want to speed up the cooking process a bit, boil the water in a tea kettle before putting it in the pot. This will get that water boiling quickly.

Watch the seasoning because the sausage meat could be well seasoned. 

While cooking the pasta, take some of that pasta water and pour it in the saute pan with the veggies and meat because this will create a wonderful sheen and sauce for the pasta. The water has all that lovely starch, hence a wonderful thickening agent for any sauce!

If you can’t find the rapini, broccolini will work just as well, resulting in an equally delicious dish!

Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage-in the pan

Aroma…….Aroma….. and Then Some…………

I wish you could smell the aromas in our cozy little kitchen. The robust scent of that rapini, garlic, caramelized Italian sausage, oh my, I have a case of the mouth waters! Enough is enough, no more torture, let’s EAT!!!!!!!

Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage,in the plate with fork

Finishing Touches…………

Before we can dive in, just a few finishing touches to the plate. A drizzle of olive oil, some peperoncino “red chili flakes”, and a nice dusting of Pecorino Romano! Now we can finally taste it. I have my fork ready!

Taste test……..

I love the nice al dente of the pasta, the flavor so nutty and perfect with the textures and flavor profile of the rapini. Wow, those hits of peperoncino are a lovely collaboration with that pungent acidic nature of the rapini and that sweet robust meatiness of the Italian pork sausage is a match made in heaven.

The Pecorino is a wonderful hit of saltiness just enough to tantalize our taste buds, with that little bit of e.v.o. oil reminding us of that rich Italian soil. This pasta dish is truly a symphony of Italian flavors and textures resulting in an easy meal perfect for dinner tonight that will have you feeling fulfilled and so comforted, and maybe a little Italian!

Buon Appetito!

Song of the day: “Un Senso” by Vasco Rossi.

Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage,in the plate with fork

Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 3-4 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Sauteing/boiling
  • Cuisine: Italian


Orecchiette with Rapini and Sausage, is a full meal deal all in one dish. Beautiful pasta tossed with wonderfully sauteed sausage and rapini dusted with some Pecorino Romano to finish the plate. Visually beautiful, aromatically alluring, and so so tasty. Try it tonight!


  • 1 bundle rapini
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cipolline onions, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Pinch of peperoncino
  • 260 g Mild Italian sausage meat
  • 200 g Orecchiette pasta
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano


  1. Clean rapini, wash and boil in salted water for 7 minutes.
  2. Take out of water and let drain, keep the pot with the water that the rapini cooked in for later.
  3. In a saute pan, drizzle in olive oil, throw in garlic after pressing it a bit to release the oils.
  4. Toss in onion and saute for 2 minutes till translucent.
  5. Add in Italian sausage meat and saute for 10 minutes breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
  6. Bring the pot of water that the rapini cooked in to a boil. Throw in orecchiette and cook for 9 minutes or what the package says.
  7. When the meat begins to brown a bit add in rapini however cut it up with some scissors before placing it in the pan, and sprinkle in peperoncino.
  8. Cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat.
  9. Toss in pasta and blend bring to medium heat. Take off heat and it is ready to serve.
  10. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a grating of Pecorino Romano.



  1. If you can’t find rapini use broccolini.
  2. Watch the seasoning as Italian sausage usually is pretty salty.
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  • Avatar
    Reply Sabrina June 5, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Oooh I love this recipe! So simple but complex with the flavour of the sausage melding with the cheese and rapini. And also I am now listening to the recommended song, thanks! Delicioso!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 6, 2019 at 6:49 am

      Thank you Sabrina, yes this dish has such earthy and wholesome qualities abd is so Italian in its simplicity. Also would love to Thank you for listening to the song of the day. Music is a big part of Nicoletta and my life. Have a wonderful day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jennifer Tammy June 9, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    I love peperoncino! I bet it tastes amazing with the cheese and rapini, I’ll have to try this next pasta night!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto June 10, 2019 at 6:13 am

      Thanks Jennifer. Yes that little hint of spice is a very welcome addition to all the flavors in this dish. So glad you will be trying this one!
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Terri June 10, 2019 at 11:46 am

    What a beautiful and delicious -sounding authentic Italian pasta dish! And I love how few ingredients this has. I will definitely be trying this – yum!

  • Avatar
    Reply Franski July 13, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Amazing dish!

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