Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

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This orecchiette pasta dish is packed with flavor and quick to make — and the whole family gobbles it up, broccoli and all.

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.” But every once in a while, I come upon a recipe that everyone clamors for, like this orecchiette pasta dish adapted from Lidia’s Italian Table by Lidia Bastianich. Not only is it quick and easy to make — 25 minutes tops — but the whole family devours it, broccoli and all.

What you’ll need to make orecchiette with Sausage & Broccoli

ingredients for orecchiette with sausage and broccoliOrecchiette is named for 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 another pasta, like farfalle or fusilli.  

Buy bulk sausage, or sausage meat without the casing, if possible (it’s often easy to find around holiday season as it’s used in stuffing recipes). Otherwise, just squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing.

Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty, and pungent Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. It’s readily available in grated form in the cheese section of most large supermarkets but if you can’t find it, it’s fine to substitute Parmigiano Reggiano.

How to make orecchiette with Sausage & Broccoli

Begin by cooking the pasta. 

boiling the orecchiette

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the sausage.

cooking the sausage

Cook, breaking the meat up with a spoon, until the sausage starts to brown, 5-6 minutes.

adding the garlic

Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

cooking the sausage and garlic

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.

adding the broccoli

Stir in the butter until melted and simmer for a few minutes to reduce and concentrate the sauce.

stirring in the butter

Add the sausage and broccoli mixture to the drained pasta and toss well, along with half of the grated cheese.

tossing the orecchiette with the sausage and broccoli mixture and cheese

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl or individual bowls and top with the remaining grated cheese.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

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Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

This orecchiette pasta dish is packed with flavor and quick to make — and the whole family gobbles it up, broccoli and all.

Servings: 4-6
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound sweet or spicy 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

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orecchiette and cook according to package instructions.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • 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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I followed the recipe exactly. It was delicious and my husband declared it a keeper. Thank you for the delicious recipe Jenn.

    • — Maryann Randall on January 23, 2021
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  • This recipe is the BOMB! It is another one of Jenn’s that my 10 year old son begs for on a regular basis. It packs really well in a thermos for school lunches and I feel good that he is eating something healthy. I shared it with my sister in Charlotte and her husband now begs for it, too! He likes to add extra hot pepper, though. Now my sister’s son at Chapel Hill cooks it with his roommates. Thanks so much for this wonderful site so full of amazing recipes!

    • — Debbie J. on January 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Another fabulous recipe!!! I made some modifications to suit a low fat diet – used mild italian turkey sausage sauteed with cooking spray and cut the oil and butter to 1 tablespoon each. It was delicious! I can only imagine how much better it is with the extra butter and olive oil…yum! But these little calorie cuts will allow me to keep this recipe in regular rotation rather than the occasional indulgence. Fabulous flavors!!

    • — Diana M on January 21, 2021
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  • This. Is. Delicious.

    My kids and I ate up. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • — Kara K on January 20, 2021
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  • Hi Jenn,
    Love your recipes!! Made this tonight for dinner and it was amazing! Could not get my husband to stop eating, glad there was enough for leftovers!
    Thanks for another keeper!

    • — Mary C. on January 19, 2021
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  • This is perfection! I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious! We all loved this, and will be making it regularly. Thanks so much, Jenn!

    • — Mary on January 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • Thank you for this yummy recipe! It’s a keeper & shall be made again! So happy to have leftovers for tonight too!! Have a blessed day and a Happy New Year!😊

    • — Valerie Perry on December 31, 2020
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  • Delicious! It was very easy to make. I used a combination of hot and sweet sausage and it was fantastic.

    • — Pat G on December 21, 2020
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  • hi Jenn Love your recipes. for this one, as i have a huge intolerance to Broccoli – do you have another suggestions for the veggie? Thanks

    • — Barb on December 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Barb, Glad you like the recipes! I think this would also work nicely with asparagus and/or peas. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2020
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      • Very delicious…not light on the calories however. I added some fresh spinach at the end to increase the nutrition value. I like pasta recipes that don’t always have a tomato sauce, nice change.

        • — Nancy on December 30, 2020
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      • I made this last night, and it was absolutely yummy! My husband went for a walk, and I asked him to buy me a head of broccoli, and he came home with a pound of asparagus! So I used it, and it turned out fantastic!! My sauce was a little more brothy than I expected, so am wondering if it was because broccoli captures some sauce in its heads, while asparagus doesn’t… Still was really tasty – but would have had a nice loaf of bread to go with it, if I realized. Really yummy, will make many times again!

        • — anne on January 16, 2021
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  • Love, love, love it! Simply delicious! Will definitely be making this again because I didn’t have extra virgin olive oil (used regular olive oil). I’m sure it’ll be even better with what the recipe called for. Thanks Jenn.

    • — Simone on November 27, 2020
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  • I liked the dish. I think I did something wrong at the broccoli and butter stage cook about 1 minute. I will have to play with it. Thank you for another bowl of yum yum!!

    • — Laurie welsh on November 22, 2020
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  • My husband and I really enjoyed this dish that was so flavourful, warm and delicious. It was a really nice change to have a yummy pasta dish without tomatoes.

    • — Kathy Morgan on November 20, 2020
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  • Jenn, thank you for another great recipe. I made this tonight, as written, and my husband can’t stop talking about it. Like other commenters, between your book and digital recipes, I no longer look anywhere else when I need a new one. I’ll be making your red wine braised short ribs this Sunday. Thanks again.

    • — Kalie on November 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • 💕

      • — Jenn on November 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this for the second time tonite. Delicious and even better than I remembered. I amped up the red peppers a smidge and cut the pasta in half as I am not a pasta appreciator. Great Sunday dinner with plenty of leftovers which I will freeze. It froze beautifully as I recall. Thank you, Jenn.

    • — Kathleen on November 15, 2020
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  • I’ve used your recipe a few times now and have made some of my own adjustments along the way. My main question to the author of this recipe is; how do you get the sausage morsels to remain crispy as seen in the photo? I found that when adding the chicken broth, the sausage loses its crispy texture and becomes soggy meat with none of that beautiful crisp and color in your photo. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!! Still a tasty recipe.

    • — Saumil Mehta on November 14, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Saumil, The sausage really doesn’t stay crispy. It may appear that way in the photo but I think I probably put the brownest pieces in the picture (and also do a little adjusting of the color after I shoot the recipes). 🙂 Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on November 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made this meal tonight with no changes to the recipe. It was ok. We all ate the meal (2 adults, 2 kids (9&5) but found it to be a bit bland. Could it be the brand of Italian sausages? I used a non-stick pan so maybe not enough flavour because the sausages didn’t brown up and leave bits in the pan. All in all it was fine but we voted to not make again for our family rotation. It was surprising because after reading the rave reviews I figured it was going to be a sure winner. Regardless, we love your site and cookbook and have tried a number of your other recipes that are our family favourites – thank you.

    • — TracyV on November 12, 2020
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  • We love this recipe! Shared it with my mother and even my picky brother loved it! I only use one tablespoon of oil in the beginning before I cook the sausage and then only use one or two tablespoons of butter. I do not usually add salt.

    • — AHK on November 11, 2020
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  • This has become a family favourite, and a great way to get my kids to eat broccoli! The only change I have made it to add less olive oil; I use 2T compared to the 5T in the recipe.

    • — KB on November 5, 2020
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  • Delicious! Great for a cool, rainy day. Definitely will make this again.

    • — Jessie Sullivan on October 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can i use beef sausage instead?

    • — Nat on October 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • Very easy and fast weeknight meal! Be careful of the salt though – If you’ve salted your pasta water (you should), and you are using regular salt chicken broth, as well as italian sausage, you may not need any additional salt. Always easier to add than take away!

    • — Naomi on October 19, 2020
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  • My children love this pasta dish. It is easy to make and very flavorful.

    • — Marguerite Finch on October 17, 2020
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  • Loved it!!!

    • — Kathy S on October 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Could I add broccolini instead?

    • — Kathy Wagenhoffer on September 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on September 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • We make this recipe at least monthly – it’s a staple in our house and so so delicious! Leftovers are even better. I have yet to try a recipe of Jenn’s that did not turn out excellent! Thank you Jenn!

    • — Chelsea on September 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve made it twice this week! The only thing I did differently was made turkey sausage in my air fryer and added some Asian hot oil to my pasta! Super quick and easy meal!

    • — Lauren on August 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • DELICIOUS!!! Substitued a ziti as that was on-hand.

    Great balance of flavors, loved the presentation as well.

    We added some more red pepper flakes & sauteed onions. Would definitely make again.

    THANKS JENNIFER for another great recipe!

    • — Barrie on August 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • This has become a staple and I often serve this we we have another family or two coming for dinner. It is a perfect family dinner and SO easy.

      • — KC on November 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • I can’t stop eating from the pot! This recipe was so easy and quite flavorful. My husband who is such a picky eater devoured it! I also added carrots to give it a pop of color and it’s still amazing. I’ll definitely make this again.

    • — Tasha E on August 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Very good.. thank you 😊

    • — Nancy on August 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was absolutely delicious. The only change I would have to make is to cut the pasta to 8oz as we are only 3 in this household. If I was to make it for a party I would use 16oz of pasta and double down on broccoli and sausage and maybe add mushrooms. Thank you again😊

    • — Becky Hermanson on August 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this last night and we really liked it; however, I had a lot of liquid in my pan when it was time to transfer the sausage/broccoli mixture to the pasta. Should the sausage have been drained before adding the chicken broth? Or maybe use less chicken broth? I followed the instructions exactly (except I used bow ties instead of orecchiette). Regardless of the liquid issue, this will definitely be a repeater.

    • — AZMom on August 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi, it’s not necessary to drain the sausage and it adds great flavor to the dish. If you found it was too liquidy, I would cut the broth back by a few tablespoons next time. Glad you enjoyed it nonetheless. 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 7, 2020
      • Reply
      • Amazingly delicious and flavourful! So simple and my 24 yr old son said to me ” I’m sure Italians do not make pasta with Chicken Bouillon” Now he says they don’t know what they are missing. 😁👍

        • — Chantal on August 23, 2020
        • Reply
        • LOL – glad it was a hit!

          • — Jenn on August 24, 2020
          • Reply
  • The simplicity of this recipe made me very skeptical, but after all of the glowing reviews I resolved to stick to the recipe (except Romanesco instead of broccoli, but nothing else that would impact the flavor)

    Holy whoa this is SO GOOD. Absurdly good. And the version I cooked didn’t really look that good (I used nonstick so I didn’t get much browning) but this is absurdly good. AMAZING. This will be made again and again. Thank you!

    • — Sue on August 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is a great and easy recipe. I couldn’t find orecchiette so I used farfalle. The sauce was great. I used frozen florets and everything tasted great. I have plenty of leftovers for lunch & dinners. I would make this again. I highly recommend it. (I think I would double the sausage & broccoli.-maybe 1/2# more) It could’ve been the type of pasta. I seem to have too much of it. So maybe less pasta? Otherwise still tasted great.

    • — Kimberly G on August 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • I agree, it was too much pasta for the other ingredients. I cut in half this time and it was plenty

      • — Kathleen on November 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • This was amazing! Simple and delicious.

    • — Susan on July 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • This a delicious just like all your recipes!

    • — Kim Macauley on July 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent blend of flavors. I wanted more sauce, as such I added a cup of white wine and a half cup of chicken stock. Additionally, I added about 3-4 cups of spinach which blended perfectly into the dish.

    • — BART CONMY on July 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • PERFECT! My husband and I absolutely love this recipe. We will certainly make this again. Thank you, Jenn!

    • — Jenna on July 19, 2020
    • Reply
  • Family loved it! And easy to make – will definitely go on the dinner rotation.

    • — Arlington Mom on July 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I made this last night with rave reviews and am already getting requests to make it again next week. It was quick to make and has great flavor for such a simple pasta dish!

    • — Melissa on July 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • Incredibly boring to see this copycat recipe from the endless white bloggers. Up your game, most are over this sort of post

    • — Kathy Barr on July 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi, Kathy, I’m actually surprised that Jenn was gracious enough to approve your comments. A couple of thoughts… First, I’d encourage you to try the recipe before commenting. If you don’t like the ingredients, then don’t try it, obviously, but don’t make these comments. Second, note all of those who *do* happen to appreciate a quick, easy and very tasty recipe for evenings when we don’t have much time. That’s a lot of 5 star reviews for a “boring copycat recipe”. Third, don’t troll. If you can’t say something nice or constructive, then you really shouldn’t say anything at all. There’s just no need.

      • — Sue S on July 18, 2020
      • Reply
      • Could not agree more!! Kathy must have been having a really bad day or maybe a bad year. Thank you Sue for your generous comment.

        • — Bart on July 22, 2020
        • Reply
      • I never reply to these blogs, but have to say the grace Sue extended to Kathy exudes class. This is a tough time in a world of unprecedented change. Can’t we just all try a little harder to be nice each other? By the way, LOVE the recipe and THANK YOU!

        • — Caitlin on July 27, 2020
        • Reply
  • I used to make a variant of this, but this is about 100 times better. This has turned into one of our favorite mid-week meals. Quick and tasty dinner paired with a Rose on a summer night! Doesn’t get much better.

    • — Scott on June 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – I have previously commented on this particular recipe as it is a FAVORITE with my family. I have made it countless times for my family of four, and I have tripled it to serve extended family, all with rave reviews. I would like to make it for my family reunion, but I will be taking it to a location that has limited cooking facilities to keep it warm. Do you think this would keep well in a crockpot, if I make it the morning of, and put it on the ‘Warm’ setting? I appreciate any feedback you can provide on this. Thanks and have a great week!

    • — Sharon Carson on June 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like it, Sharon! Unfortunately, I don’t think this will keep well in a crockpot as the pasta will get overcooked. It is something that you can reheat on the stove if you’ll have access to one.

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • Very tasty! Thank you for this great easy recipe.

    • — June on June 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Love. Love. LOVE. That is all.

      • — Laurel on September 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Loved this recipe. Easy & delicious. I will make it again. 😋

    • — Maria Zamp on June 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi, my book is arriving in the mail this week. I can’t wait so I’m making this tonight. Is this recipe (and others that are both in the book and on this site) exactly the same or do the ones in the book have had adjustments made?

      • — Danielle E. on June 21, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Danielle, thanks for purchasing the book! This recipe is not actually in the book. I believe the blog recipes that have some minor differences in the cookbook are the Candied Pecans, the Coconut Cupcakes, and the Lemon Bars. Hope that helps and that you like the cookbook!

        • — Jenn on June 23, 2020
        • Reply
  • I looove this recipe! I have made it several times as my husband is a huge fan! Last night, I was making it for dinner and had some beautiful fresh Tarragon that I wanted to use up…thought it might be good. I chopped up a little over a tablespoon (I cut the recipe in half, it’s just the two of us) and stirred it in with the broccoli and sausage. Amazing! It really complimented the sausage and the pecorino.

    • — Laura Cox on June 14, 2020
    • Reply

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