Best 5 Ingredient Pasta Recipe Everyone Should Know, According to Chef

As an experienced chef and cooking instructor, I love making this pasta dish. It only requires five key ingredients and it can be easily made vegan. The simple pasta dish includes orecchiette, sausage, and broccoli rabe. Loading Something is loading.

Pasta is as much about the sauce as it is about the shape, which is why I love the combination in one of my favorite meals: orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe.

This is one of those dishes that seems too easy to indulge and too healthy to please anyone, but somehow does all of the above.

a bowl of pasta with cheese and vegetables I think orecchiette goes well with sausage. Alissa Fitzgerald

Each piece of orecchiette, which literally means “little ears,” is traditionally pressed with the belly of a knife and folded to produce those telltale wrinkles.

Orecchiette has a great cup-shaped shape. Plus, the dough is just a mix of durum wheat and water, so the recipe below is easy to make vegan if you use a meat substitute and omit the cheese.

You can also use any sausage you like for this recipe.

cooked sausage crumbled in a pan Be sure to remove your sausage from its casing. Alissa Fitzgerald

I like to use the noticeably bitter broccoli rabe for the complexity it adds, but you can substitute broccoli or broccolini.

When cradled between pasta cups, topped with sausage and its fat, and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano, the bitter taste of broccoli rabe becomes dynamic and textured in a truly exciting way.

Vegetables and pasta in a pot You can replace the broccoli rabe with something else. Alissa Fitzgerald

Honestly, I think anything would taste good paired with orecchiette and broccoli rabe.


3-4 links sausage of your choice ¼ to 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano 1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pound orecchiette pasta


Peel the casing from the sausage. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and chili flakes and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the sausage so that the fat comes out. Turn the heat to medium until brown, then turn off the heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 12 minutes until just tender. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for use in the final sauce. Add broccoli rabe and stir. Set a timer for about two minutes or until broccoli rabe and orecchiette are both just cooked through. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe in a colander and add to pan with browned sausage. Add ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano and some of the reserved pasta water. Toss with the pasta and broccoli rabe. Serve in individual bowls with additional shaved or grated Parmesan cheese for a garnish.
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