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Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Recipe with Pancetta

This orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe recipe with pancetta is a favourite. Orecchiette with sausage and broccoli is a classic Italian combination from Puglia in Southern Italy, but broccoli can be substituted with broccoli rabe or rapini, and broccolini. The crispy pancetta adds salt and crunch.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 Servings
Calories: 2087kcal
Author: Terence Carter


  • 250 g orecchiette
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 g Italian herb sausages removed from casings
  • 2 strips of pancetta
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 200 g broccoli florets or rapini or broccoli rabe
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes more or less to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Put the sausage meat in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up (this helps cutting the sausage to size).
  • Start heating your pasta water.
  • Add pancetta to a cold pan and turn the heat up and cook until crispy.
  • In the meantime, separate your rapini leaves and florets. I like to set aside a few little florets as a garnish.
  • Take the sausage out of the freezer and chop into pea-sized pieces.
  • Remove the crispy pancetta from the pan and add the sausage and cook until slightly browned. Sprinkle some chilli flakes (to taste) over the sausage.
  • Start to cook your pasta and chop up your crispy pancetta into little pieces. Add half to the sausage pan.
  • Add your rapini to the pan and when the pasta is ready add it to the pan and add a little more pasta water.
  • Under no circumstances add some butter to the pan. This dish does not come from the border with Switzerland.
  • Mix, plate up and add a good drizzle of olive oil, the pancetta flakes and some breadcrumbs. Grate your cheese over each plate.


Calories: 2087kcal | Carbohydrates: 202g | Protein: 77g | Fat: 107g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 171mg | Sodium: 2847mg | Potassium: 1686mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1795IU | Vitamin C: 180.8mg | Calcium: 430mg | Iron: 7.4mg