Boiling the broccoli rabe with the pasta tones down the bitter flavor of this dark green, leafy vegetable. Hot sausage and crushed red pepper add a kick of heat that can be tempered by using sweet turkey Italian sausage and less red pepper.
1. Thinly slice green leaves of broccoli rabe, and cut stems into 2-inch pieces.
2. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add pasta; cook 6 minutes. Add broccoli rabe leaves and stems; cook 5 minutes or until tender.
3. While pasta and broccoli rabe cook, remove casings from sausage. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add sausage; cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add broth and next 3 ingredients; bring to a boil. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe; stir hot cooked pasta, broccoli rabe, and tomatoes into sausage mixture; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cheese; toss well.
Orecchiette (oh-ray-kee-EHT-tay), a pasta originally from the Puglia region, is named for its resemblance to "little ears."