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Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
8 servings
In this Recipe

This pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe recipe is our take on an Italian classic that’s meant to be comforting, delicious, and simple to make at home.

Flavorful broccoli rabe is paired with rich Italian sausage, pasta, and a simple but tasty chicken stock, white wine, and parmesan cheese pasta sauce to make a delicious meal.

You may have questions about what specific types of pasta, sausage, and vegetables to use in this recipe, so we’re going to take a bit to answer those questions below. If you’re ready to get cooking, just scroll down to the ingredients to get started.

What type of pasta should I use for this recipe?

The pasta that is most often used in this type of pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe recipe is most often orecchiette pasta. Orecchiete means “small ear” in Italian, and it’s named because the pasta looks like a small ear!

The shape of orecchiette makes it perfect for recipes like this one, because the sauce can get scooped up in the cavity of the pasta. However, orecchiette can be hard to find, so here are some ideas for substitutions.

  • Cavatelli also has little opening in the back to scoop up sauce, which make it a good choice for this recipe.
  • Farfalle will soak up sauce in the folds of the pasta.
  • Fusilli’s curves will hold on to sauce.

When we made this pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe at home, we used fusilli because it was easily available to us. It tasted delicious and looked pretty as well!

What type of sausage should I use for this recipe?

This is an Italian recipe, so we do recommend using Italian sausage as the sausage in your pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe!

At Lake Geneva Country Meats, you can buy our Italian sausage in bulk 1# tubes to use in recipes like this one, or you can buy single links and take the meat out of the casing to brown and use in the recipe.

If you’re looking for a lower calorie option, chicken sausage is a great substitute for this recipe. Since chicken sausages are often leaner, you may need to add a little olive oil to your skillet as the sausage is cooking to help it cook.

What is broccoli rabe?

Broccoli rabe (also known as rapini) is a green vegetable that looks like leafy broccoli, but is actually more closely related to a turnip! It has long slender stalks with dark green leaves and small buds that look like broccoli florets.

Broccoli rabe has a bitter flavor that many people (myself included) find to be a perfect way to add balance to dishes with heavier sauces and proteins – such as this pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe recipe and other similar Italian-style dishes.

You can eat broccoli rabe raw, but it’s often cooked with olive oil and garlic, and you can tame the bitterness a bit by blanching the vegetable before you sauté it.

I’m not a fan of bitter greens – is there a substitute I can use for broccoli rabe?

While we love bitter greens, we understand not everyone likes them, plus it can be hard to find broccoli rabe! Here are three substitutions that will work perfectly well:

  1. Collard greens – these are generally easy to find and will keep a bit of bitterness without being as bitter as broccoli rabe. You can blanch or not blanch collards.
  2. Broccolini – keep up the “kinda looks like broccoli” vibe in the pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe recipe and use broccolini – no need to blanch.
  3. Baby spinach – super easy to find, not bitter at all, and a great way to add nutritious greens to your diet, baby spinach is an excellent substitution for broccoli rabe in this recipe.

No matter what substitution you use, you can add the greens at the same time as we add the broccoli rabe in this recipe.

Can I spice up this pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe recipe?

Heck yeah, you can!

Here are a few ideas on how you can spice up this dish if you are in search of bolder flavors:

  1. Use a Hot Italian sausage (or something like our chicken hot wing brats) to bring spice to the dish.
  2. Grind hot pepper flakes onto the top of your finished dish. We particularly like these premium chile flakes from Flatiorn Pepper Company – and if you make a purchase using that link, we’ll get a small commission from Amazon, thank you very much!
  3. Add more garlic to your skillet. While this won’t make the dish “spicy” it will up the flavor considerably!

We hope your questions have been answered and you’re ready to get cooking some pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe!

If, on the other hand, you read through this recipe and are looking for something similar but a little lighter, check out our Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe. It’s full of flavor like this recipe, but is made with chicken and pesto instead of sausage and broccoli rabe!


  • 1 bunch Broccoli Rabe (about 1 pound washed and cut into quarters)
  • 12 oz Pasta (cooked – see note above about what shape to use)
  • 1 lb LGCM Bulk Italian Sausage
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 clove Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Shallot (minced)
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth (see note in recipe directions about liquid choice)
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan


  1. Blanch the broccoli rabe by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the quartered broccoli rabe, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the pot and set aside the broccoli rabe to dry in a colander.

  2. Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the directions until it reaches al dente. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set aside. Reserve 1/2 – 1 cup pasta water for the sauce if desired – see note in step 5.

  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large deep sauté pan or Dutch oven to medium heat and add the Italian sausage. Break it up into small pieces as it cooks, and when it’s cooked, remove it from the pan, and set it aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

  4. After the Italian sausage is cooked, add the olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot add the minced shallot and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, salt, and pepper, mix together, and cook for a minute.

  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the cooked Italian sausage and cooked, drained pasta to the broccoli rabe. Mix together, then add 1 cup of liquid in total.

    We suggest using 1/2 cup white wine and 1/2 cup chicken broth for a flavorful but light sauce. You can use any combination of chicken broth, white wine, and reserved pasta water that you like.

  6. Add the grated parmesan cheese, and stir over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes until the ingredients are mixed and a sauce has formed.

    Remove your pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe from the heat and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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