Sausage with Broccoli and Pasta - a quick, easy, hearty, and delicious dish that's done in about 30 minutes. It's loaded with garlic and sweet Italian sausage mixed with pasta and Parmesan cheese and it's a perfect any night meal.
Just because a meal takes 30 minutes to make doesn't mean it has to taste like it. This dish gets its flavor from loads of garlic, the sweet Italian sausage, and spice from crushed red pepper. Finally, Parmesan or Romano cheese is mixed in adding saltiness and texture to the sauce.
I use two pounds of frozen broccoli florets. Using frozen eliminates prep because all the florets are cut for you. I don't like crunchy broccoli in this dish. I prefer it cooked a little more so it just loses the bright green color. Not mushy but not crunchy. Some may consider it overcooked, but that's how it was always served to me as a kid and I like it that way. If you prefer your broccoli crunchy, by all means stop the cooking process when the broccoli is the color and texture that pleases you. This is a very forgiving dish.
I use whatever pasta I have - rigatoni, celestini, ziti, or gemelli. Be sure to slightly undercook the pasta because it will continue to cook when mixed with the broccoli sauce. Check out my post for how to cook pasta for some good tips.
The secret is in the pasta water...
It's a shame when pasta water gets poured down the drain because it can do a lot for a sauce. The water is salted so it adds flavor, and there's starch in it which thickens whatever you're adding it to.
This meal comes together quickly. Therefore, cooking the pasta and preparing the sausage broccoli mixture are done at same time. When you put on the water to boil, start cooking.
The dish is finished with a good amount of Parmesan or Romano cheese. It depends on what I have on hand and grated. Before adjusting for any salt, make sure you try it after adding the cheese since the cheese is salty. The cheese melts into the pasta water and boy does it taste great.
Be happy, eat well...
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Sausage with Broccoli and PastaPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 8 ounces pasta ziti, rigatoni, celestini, gemelli, or pasta of your choice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage casings removed
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
- 2 pounds frozen broccoli florets
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of kosher salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add a tablespoon of kosher salt. Cook your pasta a few minutes less than it states on the box.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, the garlic, and crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the sausage and sauté, breaking the sausage up with a spoon. Cook until the sausage loses its pink color.
- Add the frozen broccoli florets. The ice attached to the broccoli is enough to cool the pan down and slow the cooking process. Turn the heat to medium and add the salt and pepper. Adjust to your taste.
- When the pasta is more than halfway cooked, the pasta water should be cloudy from the starch of the pasta. At that point, ladle a cup and add it to the broccoli. That water is the sauce for this dish. Stir, cover, and let it cook until the broccoli is tender.
- Drain the pasta and transfer to your serving dish. Add the broccoli to the pasta and combine.
- Add the Parmesan or Romano cheese and stir to combine. The sauce should thicken from the cheese mixed with the liquid. Taste and adjust with more salt, if needed. Serve with additional grated cheese when serving.
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