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Weekday dinner inspirations: Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe and more

Mon | Good morning, dinner

We're doing breakfast for dinner with Sauteed Mushroom Omelets. In a small skillet, saute sliced mushrooms in extra-virgin olive oil, seasoning with dried thyme and coarse salt. Set aside and make omelets in the same pan. Brighten dish with feta cheese. On the side: a bowl of Plant City strawberries sprinkled with brown sugar and a dollop of sour cream. Whole wheat toast, too.

Tues | A savory pie

Quick Shepherd's Pie is a rib-sticking meal made Stir Crazy quick by using prepared mashed potatoes. Saute 1 small diced onion in a large skillet. Add 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, brown and drain fat. Add 1/2 cup or more each of diced carrots, peas and corn. Add about 3/4 cup beef broth and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce; cook about 5 minutes. Scoop mixture into baking dish and cover with mashed potatoes. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Rotisserie Chicken Enchiladas come together quickly with just a few ingredients. Shred chicken from one bird and you'll have about 4 cups, enough for 12 enchiladas. Pour 2 cans of enchilada sauce in a bowl and drag a small flour tortilla through, coating both sides. Fill with some chicken, fold in half and place in baking dish. Continue until chicken is gone and the baking dish is full. Pour remaining sauce over (leave some bits exposed so it gets crispy) and heap on shredded sharp cheddar. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Yellow rice and salad on the side.

Thurs | Listen up

I made Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe (recipe below) last week and the wolverines scarfed it down as if I'd served chocolate cake. The little ear-shaped pasta isn't cheap, but it's worth a splurge. The cup shape swaddles the sauce it's paired with. If you haven't cooked broccoli rabe, sometimes called rapini, try it. It can be a bit bitter, but first blanching it for a couple of minutes mellows it.

Fri | Open sesame

Buy a ginger sesame marinade (I like Lawry's) for Grilled Salmon. Let your steaks or fillets swim in marinade for about an hour. Be sure grates are well oiled so the fish doesn't stick. Serve with couscous garnished with sliced scallions and a side of steamed broccoli brightened with a squeeze of lemon juice and zest.

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Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe

1 pound sweet Italian sausage (buy bulk or use sausages with casings, which will be discarded)

1 pound orecchiette pasta

1 pound broccoli rabe, washed, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Place sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a bowl; set sausage and skillet aside.

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt, return to a boil and add chopped broccoli rabe. Cook 2 minutes and remove with slotted spoon to strainer, reserving cooking liquid to cook the pasta in. You may need to add more water. Add salt to water, return to a boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes; drain but reserve 1 cup of water for finished pasta sauce if needed. Return cooked orecchiette to pot; set aside.

Place reserved skillet over medium-high heat and add oil, blanched broccoli rabe, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Return sausage to the skillet, then add the mixture to the cooked orecchiette in large pot. Stir to combine, adding reserved cooking liquid if pasta seems too dry. Spoon into shallow serving bowl and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Source: Adapted from

Weekday dinner inspirations: Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe and more 03/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 3:30am]
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