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.
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 sausage and broccoli mixture to the drained pasta and toss well, along with 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. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl or individual bowls and top with the remaining grated cheese.
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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 place back in the pasta pot. Add the sausage and broccoli mixture, along with half of the cheese, and toss to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving platter or individual bowls and pass the remaining grated cheese at the table.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: This dish can be frozen for up to 3 months and reheated on the stovetop. If the dish has dried out a bit in the freezer, add a little water or broth while reheating. Just take care only to reheat it and not continue to cook it.
- Per serving (6 servings)
- Calories: 624
- Fat: 28 g
- Saturated fat: 10 g
- Carbohydrates: 64 g
- Sugar: 3 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 29 g
- Sodium: 692 mg
- Cholesterol: 51 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.