Orecchiette w/Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

Ingredients:

• 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup plain fine dried bread crumbs
• 2 Tbs. sea salt, plus more, to taste
• 1 1/2 lb. broccoli rabe, trimmed
• 1 lb. dried orecchiette
• 1/2 lb. Italian sweet fennel sausage, casings discarded
& meat coarsely chopped
• 4 large garlic cloves, minced
• Pinch of red pepper flakes
• 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano
Reggiano cheese

Preparation:

1. In a fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the
bread crumbs and stir to coat them with the oil. Season lightly with salt and
cook, stirring often, until the crumbs are an even, deep golden brown, about
10 minutes. Pour onto a plate and let cool.
2. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil and add the
2 Tbs. salt. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, testing often, until the stems are
just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a wire-mesh skimmer, lift out the
broccoli rabe into a sieve and cool it quickly under cold running water. Drain
and squeeze gently to remove excess moisture. Chop coarsely and set aside.
3. Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir well and cook, stirring occasionally,
until al dente, according to the package directions.
4. Meanwhile, in the fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the 1/3 cup olive
oil. Add the sausage, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring and
breaking up the sausage meat with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is
browned, about 7 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and stir to combine with
the sausage. Cook until the broccoli rabe is hot throughout, about 2 minutes.
Season with salt.
5. When the pasta is ready, scoop out and reserve about 2 ladlefuls of the
cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sausage
mixture and the cheese and stir and toss well over low heat to combine,
adjusting the consistency with some of the cooking water, if needed.
6. Divide the pasta among warmed plates or shallow bowls, top each
portion with a sprinkle of the toasted bread crumbs and serve immediately.