Matt Taylor-Gross

At Rao’s, Italian sausage is usually added to this pasta—but since author McNamee already had penne with cabbage and sausage on the table, the kitchen served him this simpler version.

Yield: serves 6


  • 2 lb. broccoli rabe, stems removed
  • 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • 34 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated pecorino romano


  1. Place broccoli rabe in a deep saucepan and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a simmer over high heat. When bubbles appear, remove from heat. Drain; plunge broccoli rabe into ice water, drain again, pat dry, and set aside.
  2. Cook orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm, 7–12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and sauté garlic until fragrant and just golden, about 3 minutes. Add broccoli rabe, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until pasta is ready.
  4. Drain pasta, add to broccoli rabe, and toss to mix well. Remove from heat, transfer to a platter, and serve with grated pecorino romano.