The Food Network star shares her recipe for orecchiette with broccoli rabe pesto & sausage

By Liza Hamm
March 31, 2013 12:00 PM
Ben Fink/Clarkson Potter from Burrell's book Cook Like a Rock Star

On her show Chef Wanted, Anne Burrell helps test up-and-coming chefs for top spots at premiere restaurants. But this week she’s getting a culinary dream job of her own.

On Monday, the Food Network star will be cooking for attendees at the White House’s Easter Egg Roll.

“I am so super excited,” Burrell tells PEOPLE. “The White House is such a beautiful place, and I can’t wait to visit and see the President and the First Lady and, of course, to do something fun for the kids.”

On Burrell’s menu: orecchiette with broccoli rabe pesto and sausage (which comes from her cookbook Cook Like a Rock Star) because, as she says, “A pasta dish is a great way to get kids to eat veggies.”

Want to try Burrell’s recipe yourself? Check out the recipe below:

Serves 4 to 6; takes about 30 minutes

For the pesto:

• Kosher salt
• 2 bunches of broccoli rabe, tough lower stems removed, coarsely chopped into 1-inch lengths
• ½ cup chopped pistachios
• ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano
• Extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup mascarpone

For the pasta:

• Extra virgin olive oil
• ½ pound Italian sausage, sweet or spicy, casings removed
• 1 pound orecchiette
• Big fat finishing oil
• Freshly grated Parmigiano

Directions for the pesto:

1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Drop the rabe into the water, give it a swish, and remove it immediately, saving the water to cook your pasta in later.

2. Reserve a cup of the rabe. Toss the rest in a food processor and pulse, pulse, pulse until you have a coarse paste. Add the pistachios and Parm and pur e until smooth. If it seems dry, drizzle in a little olive oil while the machine is running. Add the mascarpone and pulse until combined; taste for seasoning. It should be slightly bitter, nutty, and creamy at the same time. Reserve.

Directions for the pasta:

1. Coat a large saut pan with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add the sausage, using a spoon to break it up, and cook until brown and crumbly, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Bring your broccoli rabe water back to a boil and toss in the pasta, cooking for 1 minute less than the package recommends. Drain the pasta and add it, along with ½ cup reserved pasta cooking water, the reserved rabe, and two-thirds of the pesto, to the pan with the sausage. Stir to combine and cook until the water evaporates and the pesto is clinging to the pasta. Remove from the heat, drizzle with some big fat finishing oil, sprinkle with more Parm, and stir vigorously to combine. Divide among bowls and serve immediately. Any leftover pesto can be frozen.