Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Yesterday I cooked one of the most delicious meals I have cooked in a while! Orechiette pasta with a home made italian sauce, sweet italian sausage, freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, and a touch of red pepper. You don’t get much better than that, especially for a quick, easy weekday meal–and it was pretty healthy too. Definitely a great recipe to have on hand, so as usual, I just had to post it up on the Blog!

Ingredients:
(for the tomato sauce)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (optional)

(For the orecciette)
1 pound orecchiette pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound turkey Italian-style sausage, casings removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:
In a large casserole pot or Dutch over, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves.  and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick.

Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.  Cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 1 minute. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water to cool, saving the cooking water. Bring the reserved cooking water back to a boil. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into pieces with a spoon, until browned and juices form, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

Meanwhile, when the reserved cooking water is boiling, add the orecchiette and cook according to package directions, or until al dente, stirring occasionally. Strain the broccoli rabe and add it to the pan with the sausage mixture and toss to coat with the juices. Add the pasta to the skillet. Stir in the Parmesan and serve immediately.
Hope you all enjoy!
<3 Sarah