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
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ 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.

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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Comments

  • PS if you like veal it is amazing with orecchiette. 😋

    • — Apryl on June 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Has anyone done this recipe with beef broth? I bought two boxes of stock and I opened one and realized I opened beef and not chicken then opened the other and realized I didn’t buy one of each I only bought beef. DOH🤦🏻‍♀️ I’d make posole with it but it’s too hot so I need an alternative.

    • — Apryl on June 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh wow. This was so yummy! The family loved it. My kids (8 and 6) had seconds! Tasty and different from other pasta dishes we make! Definitely will make again and again. Thanks for another winner, Jenn!

    • — Kelly (familyfeast.ca on Instagram) on May 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • I can’t believe how much my family loved this recipe. I wanted to make it since I do love me some butter sauce and broccoli. But family wolfed down the whole pot in less than 30min with my son saying it’s the best thing I ever made. Thanks for sharing your amazing recipes Jenn!

    • — Susan on May 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe, it’s very tasty. The broccoli tastes lovely mixed with the other ingredients

    • — Maura Doyle on May 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • This quickly became a regular dinner in our rotation. My entire family devours it.

    • — Brittany on April 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is a fantastically easy recipe to throw together. Because there are so few ingredients, each has quite an impact on the final product. It calls for sweet or spicy Italian sausage — We used spicy Italian sausage from the butcher and it was good, but I think the sweet Italian sausage would’ve added a little more flavor impact. Still, this was tasty and we plan on making it again, so it’s a win.

    • — Joseph on April 24, 2022
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  • This recipe is easy and delicious! Great for a busy weeknight. The whole family enjoyed it.

    • — Greta on March 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • Used Deer breakfast sausage. Came out delicious. My husbands new favorite

    • — Mary on March 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • When my son was younger, this was his favorite dish. I saw him recently and made this, he loved it!

    • — LindaS on March 10, 2022
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    • My daughter gave me this recipe in 2020. I think it’s the best thing I make. Comes out great everytime!

      • — Hoanne on June 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • Another awesome dish!

    So many of these recipes are in my browser favorites! LOL

    • — MMM on February 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • My family LOVES this! Made a couple additions to go with broccoli: added 2 Tbsp FRESH (diced) Basil along with 1/2 cup diced sweet tomatoes! (For the little guy who doesn’t like all of the stuff, just made him Orechette with sausage, basil, Romano and a dab of butter.)

    • — Mommy on February 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is delicious and easy to make!!
    My kids ate it all!!

    • — I.S. on January 31, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Had this for dinner tonight, it was so delicious that going forward I will always be sure to have the sausage and broccoli on hand. I used frozen broccoli which I always try to have a bag in my freezer—it worked perfectly, and will make it again soon. Another great recipe from Jenn—thanks!

    • — Mary on January 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Another great recipe from Jenn! This was a hit, everyone loved. Really flavourful. I used a pound of rapini instead of the broccoli.

    • — Krys on January 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • Very tasty easy recipe. The alterations I made I don’t think significantly altered the dish so I still feel comfortable giving the original recipe 5 stars. Made this with chickpea pasta, doubled the red pepper since hubby likes spice and used grated Parmesan cheese. Fantastic quick meal.

    • — Cindy on January 20, 2022
    • Reply

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