This is a variation of one of my favorite Italian restaurant dishes, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe. It was fast to prepare and really full-flavored- incorporating anchovies, freshly ground fennel seeds, and lots of garlic. Great.
This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Jeanne Maguire. I substituted jarred fire-roasted red peppers and brine for Peppadew peppers. I used a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage as well.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
- coarse salt
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound (about 6) sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed (I used 2/3 sweet (4) and 1/3 hot sausage (2))
- 3 anchovy fillets, minced
- 2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
- 1/4 cup finely chopped mild Peppadew peppers or fire-roasted red peppers, plus 1 T brine (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 8 to 10 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 pound Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated
- 3/4 cup chicken broth or stock, divided
- 3 T freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- Remove the stems from the chard leaves and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Soak in a bowl of water, drain, and set aside.
- Cut the leaves into 3-inch wide ribbons; wash and drain. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
- Drain, return to the pot and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet (with a lid available) over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
- Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into small chunks, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 T of the drippings from the pan.
- Add the anchovies, ground fennel seed, and peppers to the skillet and cook over medium, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Stir in the garlic and chard stems, then cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Add 1/4 cup of the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the chard leaves and the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the leaves are wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes.
- Scrape the chard mixture into the pot with the pasta. (I added the pasta to the pot with the chard instead!)
- Add the sausage and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir over medium-low until the pasta is heated through, about 1 minute.
- Gradually stir in the Parmesan, then the Peppadew or roasted red pepper brine.
- Taste and season with salt. Serve sprinkled with more Parmesan.