Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli
Sometimes it seems impossible to make a meal the whole family loves: what one child happily eats, the other one is “not in the mood for” (really?!). But every once in a while, I come upon a winner, like this delicious orecchiette pasta dish adapted from Lidia’s Italian Table by Lidia Bastianich. Not only is it quick and easy to make — 25 minutes tops — the whole family eats it up, broccoli and all.
Begin by cooking the pasta. I use orecchiette, which is the classic pasta for this dish. The name comes from its shape, which resembles a small ear (the Italian word orecchiette means small ear). If you can’t find it, it’s fine to substitute any other pasta you like.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the sausage. As you can see, I use “bulk” Italian sausage, which is simply sausage meat sold out of the casing. My supermarket stocks it right near the ground pork but if you can’t find it, it’s fine to buy regular Italian sausage and either cut the casings off or squeeze the meat out.
Cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until the sausage starts to brown, 5-6 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil, broccoli, chicken broth, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is tender-crisp, 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the butter until melted and simmer for a few minutes to reduce and concentrate the sauce.
Add the cooked and drained pasta and toss well.
Add half of the grated cheese. The recipe calls for Pecorino Romano — a hard, salty Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk which is sold in most large supermarkets. If you can’t find it, it’s fine to substitute Parmigiano Reggiano. Finally, transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls and top with the remaining grated cheese.
Note: Traditionally (and in the original recipe), this dish is made with broccoli rabe. I use broccoli because it’s easier to find and child-friendly.
Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli
- 1 pound orecchiette
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orecchiette and cook according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat. Crumble the sausage into the skillet and cook, breaking apart with a spoon, until lightly browned, 5-6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic; cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil, chicken broth, broccoli, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan to release the flavorful brown bits, until the broccoli is tender-crisp, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted and simmer for a few minutes to reduce and concentrate the sauce.
- Drain the pasta well and add to the sausage and broccoli mixture. Toss to blend. Add half of the grated cheese taste and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving platter or individual bowls and sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese.
- Per serving (6 servings)
- Calories: 746
- Fat: 42g
- Saturated fat: 14g
- Carbohydrates: 64g
- Sugar: 4g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 28g
- Sodium: 895mg
- Cholesterol: 82mg
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