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Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini

Chef Anna Paganelli,
De Luca’s Cooking School

Chef Anna’s favourite pasta throughout the year adds festive colour
to holiday tables. Bitter rapini and piquant chiles add depth of flavour
to this rustic dish.

500g Orecchiette pasta
2 links fresh Italian sausage, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 lbs rapini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chilli pepper flakes
4 whole chile peppers
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
salt to taste

1. Clean the rapini, discarding any tough-looking or damaged leaves. Cut off the tougher part of the stems and peel the remainder. Wash rapini several times under running water.
2. Cook the rapini in boiling lightly salted water until tender, about 10-15 mins.  Remove and drain well. When cool enough to handle squeeze out any excess water, chop coarsely.
3. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic. Sauté briefly and remove before it begins to change colour.
4. Add the sausage meat and using a fork or wooden spoon to break it up into smaller pieces, sauté at med heat for 4-5 mins or until the meat is golden brown. Add chili pepper to taste along with the whole chilies and salt if needed.
5. Add wine, allow the alcohol to evaporate and add the rapini. Keep warm.
6. Cook orecchiette in 4-5L of boiling salted water.  Drain when still slightly al dente.
7. Add pasta to pan with sausage and rapini sauce.  Simmer together for 2 mins and serve immediately topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

Yield 4 servings

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