Creamy Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage


At Rustic Francis's Favorites, the restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola's spectacular new winery, features this hearty dish with bumbola, a bumblebee-shaped pasta. Slideshow:  One-Dish Pastas 

Creamy Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage
Photo: © John Paul Urizar
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
6 to 8


  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe (2 1/2 pounds total), thick stems trimmed and peeled

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound Italian sausages

  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 2 large shallots, minced

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 1 pound orecchiette

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 6 ounces Italian Fontina cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the broccoli rabe until tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to a colander; save the pot of boiling water to cook the pasta. When the broccoli rabe is cool enough to handle, squeeze dry and coarsely chop it.

  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Prick the sausages with a knife. Add them to the skillet, cover and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausages to a plate, let cool then coarsely chop.

  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet along with the garlic and shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broccoli rabe and sausage and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Cook the orecchiette in the reserved pot of boiling water until al dente. Just before draining, measure out 1 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta to the skillet and toss. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cream and Fontina to the pasta and gradually add the reserved pasta cooking water, stirring, until a creamy sauce forms. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.

Suggested Pairing

The richness of the dish makes it a great match for Cabernet's tannic power.

Related Articles