When the news of Pietro Nolita’s impending opening emerged, we couldn’t help but be excited. With a bubble gum pink interior (and exterior – seriously, all pink everything!) and the promise of healthy Italian food, it seemed like the ultimate dream come true. So we jumped on the opportunity to get inside the mind, and perhaps more importantly, the kitchen, of chef Oliviero Borgna.
Oliviero welcomed us into his home where he had casually (though thoughtfully, carefully) whipped up some handmade pasta, paired with broccoli rabe and sausage, one of his favorite go-to dishes.
Orechiette w/ Broccoli Raab and Sausage | Chef Oliviero Borgna, Pietro Nolita
1 Bunch Broccoli Raab (Preferably with flowers)
1 Ring sweet pork sausage ~ 1 lb
1 Clove garlic
2 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Glass beer or White wine
1 Box or bag of Orechiette
1 Pint grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt & Pepper
Parsley leafs for garnish
Chili flakes optional
Oliviero’s Tip #1: Always do one thing at a time and focus on that task. As the S.O.S band would say, “take your time do it right”
1. Cut the bottom thickest part of the broccoli raab off and consign to compost or trash. Wash the greens thoroughly and drain. Then cut into manageable parts and gently steam or boil on medium low heat for ~10 minutes to tenderize and par cook the broccoli. Remove and let cool.
2. While the broccoli raab is steaming remove the sausage meat from its casing and small dice the garlic and shallots. In a sauce pan melt the butter on medium heat and when it starts to color and bubble add the garlic and let fry gently for a minute or two then add the shallots and a pinch or two of salt. Let the shallots and garlic fry together for a few minutes until the shallots and garlic begin to brown than add the sausage meat. Stir and break up the meat into chunks and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes until all the meat is cooked through stirring regularly.
3. Start a pot of water on high heat. Always use the maximum amount of water you can since more water will allow you to cook your pasta faster. When the water is boiling add salt until the water tastes slightly less salty than the ocean.
4. In a separate pan on medium heat coat the pan with oil and add chili flakes if desired then add the broccoli raab and salt then allow to cook a little more. When the broccoli raab is warm again combine the sausage and the broccoli raab and mix together thoroughly and leave on low heat. Deglaze the pan you were using for the sausage with some wine or beer and let cook down halfway then add to the sausage and broccoli raab.
5. Cook your pasta! Always taste to determine when the pasta is done don’t trust the time on the box as there are a lot of variables that will lengthen or shorten the time needed for your pasta to finish cooking.
Oliviero’s Tip #2: Save a cup of the pasta water just in case you need to add it back in if your pasta and sauce appear to be to dry.
Oliviero’s Tip #3: Use some extra pasta water to warm up your serving bowl so the pasta doesn’t go into a cold bowl.
6. When the pasta is finished drain into a colander. In a large bowl add half the sauce and half of the cheese and mix them together then add the pasta and the second half of the sauce on top of the pasta. Mix all together and add more cheese then transfer to your warm serving bowl. Top with a little cheese and some parsley and serve hot!