Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Bolognese Sauce
Here's a complete, well-balanced meal all on one plate: protein, carbs, greens, and fiber all packed into one dish. Not a broccoli rabe fan? Use regular broccoli instead.
- 3/8 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3/4 pounds 93-percent lean ground beef
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 12 ounces whole-wheat pasta, preferably penne rigate
- 1 pound cooked broccoli rabe, trimmed, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
Calories Per Serving399
Folate equivalent (total)99µg25%
17 Chicken Pasta Recipes You'll Want to Make Any Night of the Week
Pasta is typically fast, endlessly versatile, and always delicious&mdashput these three traits together and it's easy to understand why it's the ideal mealtime staple. Another plus? Pasta comes in so many shapes and sizes. Wide noodles like tagliatelle and pappardelle are ideal for twirling in a rich sauce, whereas ridged and ruffle shapes like farfalle and penne rigate hold up to denser sauces. Chicken is another versatile ingredient, so we like to pair it with our favorite noodles whenever possible. That's why ground chicken, chicken breasts, chicken cutlets, and chicken thighs are all spotlighted alongside pasta in these mouthwatering recipes.
We've never met a bolognese sauce that's both a breeze to make and super lean&mdashuntil now. Our Chicken Bolognese with Tagliatelle is made with ground chicken in place of the usual beef, pork, and veal blend. The meat is cooked with traditional mirepoix (celery, onions, and carrots), plus tomato paste, white wine, whole milk, and whole peeled tomatoes. It's simmered until thickened, then tossed with cooked pasta noodles and Parmesan cheese for a decadent meal. Another savory and comforting dish featuring wide tagliatelle is our Chicken and Mushroom Pasta. A rich cream sauce made with heavy cream, white wine, and Parmesan is simply irresistible, while cremini mushrooms bring plenty of savory, meaty flavors alongside boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
We also have several pasta recipes featuring chicken that come together in less than 30 minutes. Our recipe for Greek Chicken One-Pan Pasta is, as the name suggests, made in just one pan the secret to the savory taste here is that the pasta is cooked in a combination of chicken broth, water, and lemon zest, which builds a burst of flavor. And Spicy Chicken Pasta is a super simple, Pomodoro-style dish that uses diced chicken breast, tons of baby spinach, and red pepper flakes for a kick.
From creamy and rich to light and lemony, you'll want to make these delicious chicken pasta recipes for dinner this week.
GARLIC SHRIMP PASTA WITH BROCCOLI RABE
Oh boy this is another winner delicious looking and love the ingredients! Shrimp is a wonderful addition!
Perfect recipe, thanks. I used orecchiette pasta and added a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the oil before cooking the shrimp.
For those who may not have never properly cleaned broccoli rabe:
This will insure tender and evenly cooked broccoli rabe.
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Send Help: I Can’t Stop Making This Sausage and Broccoli Pasta
I’ve always taken a certain sneering, high-minded pride in the fact that I have never been a big pasta person. Even when I was in college, even when I was a broke-ass twenty-something living in New York City, pasta was never my go-to. Don’t get me wrong: I love to eat pasta. But, as a misguided young person, I always thought of pasta as a crutch, the kind of thing that people who didn’t know how to make delicious food for themselves made for themselves too often. “Sure, you could make pasta tonight,” I’d think to myself, “sure, it will be delicious. But can’t you think of anything. else to make?” And normally the answer was yes, and normally while eating said “anything else” I’d pat myself on the back for being oh-so unpredictable, resourceful, and creative. “Let them have their pasta—I can COOK!” (Iɽ proclaim, four hours later, to no one in particular, after my pot of lovingly-simmered cooked-from-dried beans were finally finished.)
Well, things change, and people change. I got older, and wiser, and stopped feeling like I had so much to prove. I got into the habit of cooking pasta maybe, say, once a month. I treated it as a special treat, an opportunity to lean into the richer, all-in dishes that make pasta one of life’s great joys but are definitely not healthy, or even healthyish: vodka sauce, alfredo, bolognese, carbonara. I had no time for the whole, “pasta. but not-that-bad-for-you, it's-made-from-whole-wheat-and-the-sauce-is-just-vegetables!” thing—why cook pasta if you were trying to be reasonable? That’s what salads are for, dummy!
And then I met this sausage and broccoli pasta recipe. And then everything went off the rails.
Originally featured in our November 2017 issue, the recipe was developed by Adam Rapoport, our editor in chief, which explains why he got away with naming the recipe “Broccoli Bolognese with Orecchiette” though it bears literally no resemblance to its meaty, long-simmered namesake. I edited the story, and had tasted the pasta once or twice in passing while it was being developed in our Test Kitchen, and then forgot about it until a few months ago. Then, one fateful night, I found myself on my way to a friend’s apartment with every intention of cooking dinner but no plan or groceries to speak of. I didn’t have time to go to a grocery store, and ducked into a reasonably well-stocked bodega for a bit of inspiration. Staring at a head of decent-looking broccoli, that recipe popped into my head, and I scanned the store for the rest of the things I’d need. Hunk of Parm? Check. Pound of sausages? Check. Box of orecchiette pasta? Check. Garlic? Check. Golden. I checked out, texted my friend to put a big pot of water on to boil, and sallied forth.
Peeling the base of the broccoli stems exposes the tender goodness within.
When I got there, everything came together in a flash—I was able to get the prep done in the time it took my friend to tell me about their day. I crumbled the sweet Italian sausage into a Dutch oven and let it brown. I chopped that head of broccoli—stems and all—down into tiny pieces, and blanched them quickly in the salty water I had on for the pasta. (Nothing fills me with greater joy than making that pasta water do double duty.) I dumped the orecchiette into the pot, and while it cooked I sizzled some crushed garlic in the pan with the sausage, added a pinch of chile flakes and that chopped broccoli, and let it cook together for a few minutes. When the pasta was almost al dente, I scooped out a few ladlefuls of the starchy water it was cooking in into the Dutch oven and got that bubbling, then used a spider to transfer the cooked pasta directly from the pot into the sauce. While that simmered away, the orecchiette soaking up that garlicky, porky, starchy liquid, I gradually folded in a handful of grated Parm at a time until the sauce went thick and glossy, and threw in a knob of butter for good measure. And there it was: sausage and broccoli pasta. But it was so, so much more.
I could not believe how good this unassuming pot of pasta tasted. It had plenty of lip-sticking luxuriousness from the pork, cheese, and butter, but the entire head of broken-down broccoli in there meant that every bite was still full of bright, crunchy vegetal flavor. It somehow bridged the gap in my mind between hedonistic cream-and-carb bliss and the sad, dietetic dishes of zoodles I imagine people claim to like. A soulful, truly satisfying dish of pasta that was chock full of vegetable goodness without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. I was hooked.
I’ve made it nearly once a week since that first encounter, a bit differently each time. I’ve switched up the pasta shape—anything that has nooks and crannies to cradle the bits in the sauce will work. I’ve swapped out the broccoli for kale, spinach, broccoli rabe, wax beans, and a whole host of other green things, alone or in combination. I’ve used hot Italian sausage and chorizo and garlic sausage and even a random chunk of paté one time. And now, every time I can’t think of what I want to eat or what I can serve to a group of people that will be universally appealing, I make. pasta. This pasta. I guess this is what being an adult is like, after all.
- 8 ounces whole-wheat shells, fusilli or chiocciole
- 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, or 8 cups baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup shredded fontina cheese
- 2/3 cup Toasted Breadcrumbs, optional (see Tip)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, according to package directions. Stir in broccoli rabe (or spinach) during the last 2 to 3 minutes. Drain. Dry the pot.
Whisk broth and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Heat oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth mixture and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, until it thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Add beans, vinegar, salt and pepper and the pasta and broccoli rabe (or spinach). Cook, stirring, until the mixture is heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat add cheese, stirring until it melts. Serve immediately, topped with Toasted Breadcrumbs, if using.
Tip: To make toasted breadcrumbs, trim the crusts from 2 slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread. Tear the bread into pieces and process in a food processor into coarse crumbs. Toss breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Cook in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
Orecchiette Pasta with Broccoli
This vibrant orecchiette pasta uses 10 ingredients and takes 30 minutes to make. Pesto & a dash of white wine make it a delicious weeknight go-to.
Welcome to Day 4 of my meal plan week, where we’re making orecchiette pasta! In case you haven’t been following, here are Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. This week, I’m posting easy real-life meals where each one leads into the next, making cook/prep time a breeze. This is the way I love to cook – it’s fun, it’s flexible, and I hope it helps inspire your own meal planning. And speaking of meal planning, here’s a shameless plug for our new meal journal, The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List, which is a handy tool to help you organize your meals.
Now that we’re later in the week… pasta!! Why? Because pasta is fun, and it’s the perfect vehicle to use up bits and bobs of leftover vegetables. I also always have it in the pantry. I chose orecchiette pasta for this recipe because orecchiette, broccoli, and sausage are a classic combo. I skipped the sausage, of course, but I love how this pasta shape scoops up the chickpeas and mirrors the round Brussels sprouts in this recipe. Let’s cook!
Orecchiette Pasta Recipe Ingredients
You can make this orecchiette pasta recipe as part of our meal plan, or not. Here’s what you’ll need, whether you’re weaving it into the week of meals or whipping it up on its own:
- A great sauce! I use the green sauce from the beginning of the week, but any variation of pesto will do.
- A few big handfuls of Brussels sprouts
- Leftover kale stems. I had some from the kale salad that I made the other night, but you could skip them, or use asparagus instead.
- A half bunch of broccolini
- Orecchiette pasta
- A few shavings of pecorino cheese
That’s all you need! And don’t worry if you don’t have these exact ingredients on hand. Read on for some of my favorite variations!
Orecchiette Pasta Recipe Variations
This orecchiette pasta recipe is super flexible, so feel free to swap in the vegetables you have on hand or make it to suit your tastes. Here are a few of my favorite ways to change it up:
Pasta with garlicky broccoli rabe
In my humble opinion, there’s cooking and there’s cooking. (I know, I’ll just give you a minute for the staggering profundity of that sentence to kick in.) What I mean is, it’s one thing to turn banana bread into a crepe, that crepe into a cake, that cake into a vehicle for walnut butterscotch, drooling, diet-postponing, and seconds, and it’s an entirely other thing to find yourself at the playground at 5:15 p.m. and realize a) you don’t actually have anything in the fridge that you can turn into dinner, b) you, in fact, barely feel like cooking, in fact, your interest in cooking is only a single degree stronger than your desire to order in, so this better be easy, and c) the adjacent farmers market which you have heard from others boasts ramps and asparagus and spinach and other new! spring! delights! in fact, at the tail end of the day, boasts few things aside from a straggler of a single bundle of broccoli rabe. And you like broccoli rabe, you’ve warmed to it quite a bit since you’ve accepted it into your life, but you hardly excel in turning it into a lightning-quick, lazy, and completely satisfying dinner (or LQLACSD for short).
Or, I didn’t before last Wednesday afternoon. This thing where you can grab anything at random without a shopping list in hand or recipe in mind and transform it effortlessly into a LQLACSD, this is real cooking. This is what separates those grandmothers that cranked out dinner like clockwork every night for 60 years, that didn’t throw in the towel because they only had canned peas and stale rice in the pantry, from the dilettantes. And people? Over 750 recipes into this site, I’m still getting there. Sometimes a simple recipe, one that you make once and instantly memorize and throw into the dinner rotation, helps.
And this is how by 6 p.m. I had I turned that bundle of broccoli rabe — a vegetable I love but don’t have a sixth sense for, at least not yet — into my new favorite pasta dish. I found inspiration in a 2006 recipe from Gourmet, showered it with punchy romano cheese, and retired for the evening with happy bellies and only a few dishes to wash. It is dinner, salad and a vegetable dish in one. It is quick. It could be dolled up in any number of ways — toasted breadcrumbs, minced capers or green olives, some ricotta — but it needs none of these to delight. To be dinner tonight, but 20 minutes after you bring home the groceries on a day too lovely to be fiddling over the stove. Hallelujah.
Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
Adapted, just a smidge, from Gourmet, September 2006
The original recipe calls for spaghetti, but I prefer short, chunky pastas that are spear-able by toddler forks. I fell for a “toscani” shape, though it also looks like campanelle, “little bells.” I think it looks like pretty, pretty locks of hair.
So, unless I think the texture of a salt really makes a difference in a dish, I usually default to table salt in my recipes, because it’s cheap and everyone keeps it around (and, better that someone uses a coarse salt for a table salt volume and undersalts a dish than the other, irreversible, way around). But! Not here. Please don’t use table salt. Most table salt is iodized and that iodine can turn your garlic a weird bright blue/green color. It will still be safe to eat but look… disturbing. Trust me, I learned the hard way.
1 pound pasta, whatever shape you like (but chunky ones will match up better with the rabe)
1 pound broccoli rabe, heavy stems removed, remaining stems and leaves cut into 1- to 2-inch sections (I attempt to match my pasta in length)
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
About 1 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)
To serve: Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (omit, of course, if keeping the dish vegan)
Bring a huge pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. Drain rabe and pasta together and pour into serving bowl. In the same pot or a tiny one, heat the olive oil with the garlic, pepper flakes and Kosher salt over moderate heat, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic becomes lightly golden. Pour mixture over pasta and toss to evenly coat. Shower with freshly grated cheese and eat at once.
Baked pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage
Guys, I am in the weeds this month. After a summer of lazy, a summer of two vacations and a husband (eh, unpaid assistant) always around, making life fun and easy, a mess of busy (new job, work travel for him, book touring for me, a spate of solo parenting of each of us, new preschool, new babysitter, and very important birthday party allatonce) has descended on our recently idyllic lifestyle and, no, I am not handling it with the effortless grace you’ve come to expect from me. Quit laughing. Stop it. I could be effortless or graceful! I mean, there was that one time… Okay, fine. I’m handling it as predicted: with equal measures of bourbon and complaining on the internet. I never claimed to be a model human.
Once in a while, though, once in a sweet savior of a blue moon, I plan ahead and this time, it’s saving this page from flatlining, at least until I get my head back in the game. This dish is, in fact, one of my favorite new dinner recipes this year we loved it so much that I found it agonizing to wait so long to tell you about it. But it didn’t feel like the right season to post it when I made it (late this past spring). I wanted to save it for what I considered a more chaotic and comfort-demanding time of year, like September (even if the 92 degree weather today mocks my best laid plans).
It started as a hunt for my own take on a baked ziti. Although I would never, ever turn it away if you brought some by my apartment at about 5:55 this afternoon (I would probably leap into your arms and kiss you, which might be awkward, so consider yourself warned), traditional American-Italian baked ziti has never been my favorite thing because I’ve never much cared for the texture of baked ricotta, which seems to be in every recipe. And, while I love tomato sauce in all formats, it always feels a little clashy against the green vegetables I insist make pasta-for-dinner acceptable any night of the week. No, I realized my dream baked ziti would probably not be ziti at all (I think other chunky pastas pick up sauce better), but a chunky, craggy deconstructed lasagna with all of the important parts played up — browned crunchy edges for miles, hearty chunks of sausage and thick green vegetables.
I made a big old pan of this before the last book tour, to help get the boys through the week. I made another one the week before we went to Rome, when we didn’t want to load up on groceries that would go to waste, and we brought the last portions to the airport, for a so-much-better-than-airplane dinner. I did not, unfortunately, stash some in my freezer before this week began but if you’re having a week or month like we are, or maybe it’s just getting cool enough where you are to consider rib-sticking but not gut-weighing food again, you should make this beast happen.
Related: This dish has some ingredients in common with Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe weeknight staple. Previously, in the baked pasta department: Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs, Lasagna Bolognese, Mushroom Lasagna and last year’s Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella
Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
Important: This is my dream of a baked pasta dish — not too heavy, not to rich or gooey, tons of crunchy edges. As you might see in the photos above, it’s on the firm side. If you’d like a baked pasta with more sauce, which I expect most of you will, you’ll want to use 1 1/2 times the bechamel and cheese below.
Broccoli rabe (also called raab or rapini) is a leafy green vegetable with buds that somewhat resemble broccoli. It’s slightly bitter and holds up well to cooking. If you can’t find it, regular broccoli or broccolini will work here as well they will only need 3 and 2 minutes respectively of boiling time with the pasta to keep it semi-crisp. If you’d like to make this without meat, the sausage can definitely be omitted. You could add some lightly sauteed chunky brown mushrooms for extra bulk, as well.
The pasta shape I used here is called toscani and it’s from the brand Seggiano. I have found it at Whole Foods and, if you’re in the East Village, Commodities Natural Market on 1st Ave. (plus I’m sure other stores). When I can’t get, it I use Barilla’s similar campanelle or seriously any chunky pasta you like to bake with.
Pasta and assembly
1 pound chunky pasta of your choice (I love bell shapes see above for details)
1 bundle broccoli rabe (see above for options), stems and leaves cut into 1-inch segments
1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or spicy pork or chicken), casings removed
2/3 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
6 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes
2 cups milk, full fat is ideal
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Few gratings fresh nutmeg
Cook the pasta and rabe: Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. Drain the broccoli rabe and pasta together and place in a large bowl.
Cook your sausage: Meanwhile, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, wide saucepan (you will use this for the bechamel in a few minutes you could also use your pasta pot, once it is drained) over medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Remove with slotted spoon or spatula, leaving any fat behind. Eyeball the drippings (pork sausage will leave some chicken usually does not) — use one tablespoon less butter next if it looks like there’s a tablespoon there. Any less, don’t worry about adjusting the butter.
Make the bechamel: Melt your butter in same saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add your flour and stir it into the butter until smooth. Cook the mixture together for a minute, stirring constantly. Pour in a small drizzle of your milk, whisking constantly into the butter-flour mixture until smooth. Continue to drizzle a very small amount at a time, whisking constantly. Once you’ve added a little over half of your milk, you’ll find that you have more of a thick sauce or batter, and you can start adding the milk in larger splashes, being sure to keep mixing. Once all of the milk is added, add the salt, garlic, nutmeg, and few grinds of black pepper, and bring the mixture to a lower simmer and cook it, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Assemble and bake: Add the sausage and bechamel to the bowl with the pasta and broccoli rabe. Stir in mozzarella and half of grated parmesan or pecorino until combined. Pour into a lasagna pan, deep 9吉-inch baking dish* or 3-quart casserole dish and coat with remaining parmesan or pecorino. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the edges and craggy points are nicely bronzed.
Eat warm. Reheat as needed.
* I love this so much, I’ve bought two, and it’s usually crazy inexpensive.
Lidia Bastianich's Ziti with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
2 tbsp. plus ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 oz. sweet Italian sausage links
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large head broccoli rabe, trimmed and stems peeled
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz. ziti pasta
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
1. Bring a large pot of water with 2 tbsp. salt to a boil for the pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1 tbsp. olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sausages and brown all over, about 6 minutes remove to a plate.
2. Add remaining oil to skillet. Stir in garlic, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, and season with remaining salt and red pepper flakes, tossing to coat. Cover and let steam until bright green and the leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes.
3. Add ziti to the boiling water, and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Slice the sausages into ½-in. rounds, and add to broccoli rabe along with 1 cup pasta water and the butter. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the broccoli rabe is very tender, about 3 to 4 minutes discard garlic.
4. Add cooked ziti to broccoli rabe mixture, and toss to coat, adding a little pasta water if needed. Sprinkle with cheese, toss, and serve.
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
This is one of my favorite recipies. I add more seasonings to ramp up the flavor! it is quick easy and delicious.
So I followed the basic recipe but tweaked it a bit and both my roommate and I found it very flavorful. I added some ground Italian herbs instead of basil, 3 cloves of garlic, 1.5 cups of chicken broth, and a ton of lemon juice--maybe 1/3 cup--I just eyeballed it. I also doubled the pasta because we're carb addicts. Then once it was done I covered it with shredded cheese liberally. Definitely will make this again!
I thought this was very bland & had no flavor. i wish Campbells would revamp it.
Broccoli & Garlic Penne Pasta
My family loves this recipe!! I add more lemon and spices to give it some extra kick.
Broccoli & Garlic Penne Pasta
Very bland. Will not be making again, and removing from my recipe box. :/