- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds loose sweet Italian sausage, shaped into mini-meatballs
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, or to taste
- Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 30 littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 pound orecchiette
- Kosher salt
- 2 small bunches broccoli rabe, stems removed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
2. Take another large saucepan (big enough to hold clams) and set over medium heat. Add a 2-count of olive oil and loose pork sausage. Cook over medium heat to render fat and get color on the sausage. Once the sausage is browned on all sides, remove and place onto a paper towel-lined plate. To the same pan, add the chopped garlic, red chili flakes and thyme leaves and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn up the heat, dump in the cleaned and scrubbed clams and white wine. Cover with a lid and steam for about 10 minutes until the clams open.
3. While clams are steaming, cook the pasta. Add orecchiette to boiling water and cook. With about 3 minutes left, add the broccoli rabe to the same pot and cook until tender. Drain pasta and broccoli and place into the saucepan with the browned sausage. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir to combine. Place into a large serving bowl.
4. Now return to the clams. Remove the lid and add the cubes of cold butter and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil as you stir. Once the sauce thickens slightly give it a final seasoning with pepper and a little salt (go easy on the salt) then take the whole pan and pour on top of the orecchiette and broccoli rabe. Shower with fresh Parmesan and parsley.