In a large pot, bring 5 to 6 quarts (20 to 24 cups) of water to a boil and add salt to taste. Prepare an ice water bath. Blanch the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and keep it nice and green. When cooled, drain the broccoli rabe and pat dry.
Return the same water to a boil and salt again. Cook the orecchiette in the boiling water according to the package instructions, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water before draining it.
While the pasta is cooking, add the extra-virgin olive oil to a large skillet and heat. Add the crumbled sausage, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and broccoli rabe and continue to cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
Drain the cooked pasta, add it to the skillet with the other ingredients and let the flavors come together by cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes. Moisten with some of the reserved pasta water if needed. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and freshly ground pepper to taste.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Carluccio's Coal-Fired Pizza, Northfield, NJ