Have you ever wanted to recreate your favorite dish from a restaurant? Boston restaurateur and chef, Douglass Williams, of MIDA published a few of his recipes in Yankee Candle’s magazine.

Of course, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make our own Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. Our last article,“MIDA: The Trendiest Italian Restaurant in the South End” discusses our experience at his renowned Italian eatery located in the South End. It is a ‘must go’, but if you’re feeling ambitious, trying this recipe is a great way to bring their delicious homemade pasta to your own table..

From Yankee Magazine:

Yield: 6-8 servings

For the pasta

2 cups semolina flour

2 cups Tipo 00 pasta flour or all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups warm water

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water

First, make the pasta. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours with the salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl with the back of your hand and add the water. With a fork, start from the middle of the well and stir vigorously, incorporating the rest of the flour until well combined. Once your dough comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Allison Leacu

Once rested, remove the pasta dough from the plastic wrap. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut a 1/2-inch-thick slice off the ball of dough. Cut that slice lengthwise into three strips, each about 1/2-inch-wide, then cut the strips crosswise to make 1/2-inch squares. To form the pasta into orecchiette, take one square of dough and press it into the palm of your hand with the pad of your thumb in a twisting motion. Transfer pasta to a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve used all your dough.

Allison Leacu
For the sauce

2 pounds ground chicken

2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons ground fennel seed

1 1/2 teaspoons red chili flakes

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 cups white wine

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 cups chopped broccoli rabe

Grated Parmesan and extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

In a large bowl, toss the ground chicken with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, fennel, and chili flakes until blended. Set a large skillet over high heat and, working in two batches, cook the chicken mixture until browned, about 10 minutes per batch. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, then add chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until it floats to the surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a strainer and add to the sauce. Cook for 1 minute, add the broccoli rabe, and cook for 1 minute more. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

If you follow the recipe to a T, you should end up with a beautiful blend of subtly bitter broccoli rabe, enveloped in garlic, red pepper flakes, parmigiano, and sausage. However, it doesn’t come easy, so we’re here with some tips and tricks based on our attempt.

TIP #1: Make sure to use the flours recommended in the recipe.

Semolina flour has a different texture, and is more of a coarse flour made of wheat, typical for pasta and certain breads. We opted to use all purpose flour instead of Tipo 00, because that’s what we had on hand. Don’t experiment with whole wheat all-purpose flour. While this might sound like a healthier option, it creates a denser, more gummy texture. The kneading and setting of the dough for an hour is necessary–the same way you’d let bread dough sit to rise.

TIP #2: Feel free to leave out the fennel.

While the dough was setting, we began the sauce. The only modification we made to the ground chicken mixture was that we skipped the fennel. Without much previous experience cooking with it, we felt the inclusion wouldn’t add to our dish. After all, it’s known for having a black licorice flavor, and who really likes that stuff?

TIP #3: Be patient.

After cooking the chicken to a nice brown, we browned the garlic and added our liquids: the white wine, and later the chicken stock. It took a bit longer for the sauce to thicken, so trust the process. In the same vein, shaping each piece of dough is labor intensive and time consuming, so put on some music and take your time.

Allison Leacu

TIP #4: Cut SMALL pieces of dough.

The recipe tells you how to cut the dough ball into pieces for the pasta. However, we ended up with pieces that were way too large. It is difficult to shape tiny pieces of dough, but trust us, the smaller the better. Since our pasta dough pieces were too large, when we boiled them, they expanded to look almost like dumplings.

TIP #5: Do not put pasta pieces together in a bowl or they will stick.

This is pretty self-explanatory. We did not consider this and ended up with a bowl of stuck together pasta, canceling out all our hard work.


This is a difficult recipe, so savor your meal. You worked hard for this.

We hope you can try this recipe. To us, it was worth the effort. But, if you want to take the easy way out (because who doesn’t?), MIDA is open for dine-in or take-out 4-10 PM on weekdays and 4-11 PM on weekends.