Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lamb's Ears

if you are a fan of Italian cooking shows  like i am, you've been introduced to a type of pasta called orecchiette. )ō-ˌrā-kˈe-te)

orecchiette is a small piece of pasta that looks like small shell or bowl.  It comes from another word that means ear. in Italian.
Well, orecchiette is fun little pasta to cook and eat. It's little bowl is perfect for holding sauce and cheese.

So here it is. This was the voted the best dish in San Francisco in 2004.


3 tablespoons salt
3 bunches broccoli rabe, about 1 1/2 pounds, coarsely chopped
10 ounces orecchiette (preferably Rustichella brand)
3 hot Italian sausage links, about 1 pound
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 ounces finely grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons very crunchy toasted breadcrumbs (optional)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil with the salt. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Return the same pot of water to a boil, add the orecchiette and cook for 10 minutes, or until slightly undercooked. Drain, reserving the cooking water.

Split the sausages lengthwise down the middle and remove from their casings.

Heat the olive oil in a high-rimmed skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage meat, breaking it up as finely as possible. Add the broccoli and continue cooking and stirring until the broccoli breaks down to a saucelike texture.

Add the chicken stock and orecchiette. Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, being careful it doesn't stick. You may have to keep adding a little pasta water, additional stock or tap water until the pasta is soft yet chewy (al dente), making sure not to overcook it.

Finish the pasta by folding in the cheese, a few squeezes of lemon juice and the optional breadcrumbs.

Serves 4-6

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