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.

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 couldn’t find bulk sausage so I had to squeeze it out of the casings but it turned out fine. Super easy to make and tastes like I worked harder than I did. I made the recipe exactly as written. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Sarah McKnight on January 29, 2021
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  • Super delicious. Sometimes I cut a little of the pasta and add extra broccoli. Leftovers are also good!

    • — Tracey Czar on January 29, 2021
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  • This is a family favorite and always a hit with my young kids, which is a big plus! I omit the red pepper flakes for the sake of the kids and add it in later for the adults. I also cook the broccoli a bit longer (maybe about 10 minutes). Since it tends to dry out in the fridge, I reheat it in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and chicken broth.

    • — Melissa Quinn on January 29, 2021
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  • Kid approved!! My kiddos love this pasta recipe! They pretty much won’t eat any red sauce pasta (or Mac n cheese lately) so having this in the rotation is great!

    • — Julie Boogren on January 28, 2021
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  • My family LOVES this recipe. It is quite filling, and between the slight crunch of broccoli, the savory sausage, and the fun pasta shape, it is truly a crowd pleaser. It has become a standby!

    • — Agnes on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe has become a staple in our dinner rotation! Super easy to whip together, with the addition of flavorful Italian sausage and crisp broccoli. Doesn’t taste too heavy for a pasta dish. We will continue making this.

    • — Cynthia on January 28, 2021
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  • We have made so many of your recipes and have enjoyed them all. This one is the one we make most frequently. Amazingly delicious and easy. What a great combo!

    • — Stacie on January 28, 2021
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  • OMG this is the best recipe I did with sausage & orecchiette. I usually do it with rappini, but this one with the broccoli…A-M-A-Z-I-N-G…wasn’t dry it was perfect.

    • — SUZANNE GRAVITO on January 28, 2021
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  • I’ve made this several times and it always turns out great! Made it for some friends and they asked for the recipe.

    It’s so very filling and makes a lot, so I usually freeze 1/2 of it. Never disappoints, even out of the freezer

    • — Judith Richardson on January 28, 2021
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  • Absolutely love this recipe– as a newer “chef”, this recipe made me continue to want to cook. It’s simple and delicious. Orecchiette is one of my favorite pastas, and the way the sausage and broccoli pieces fall into it is just perfect. 🙂

    • — Bridget K on January 28, 2021
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  • This was a simple meal that got rave reviews and made a tasty leftover lunch the next day. I substituted peas for broccoli as that was what I had on hand. A great dish for picky kids!

    • — Alyse Jacobson on January 28, 2021
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  • This is definitely a family favourite and we always have orchiette in the pantry now. Another five star recipe you’ve shared with us!

    • — Jan Stromgren on January 28, 2021
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  • I can’t always find orrechiette, and I substitute with fusili. The result, of course, is just as amazing and it is still visually pleasing. I will definitely make this again!

    • — Emilie Lamy on January 28, 2021
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  • Easy, Quick Delicious!

    • — Ashley R. on January 28, 2021
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  • Delicious, easy pasta dish that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy after having a hearty serving 🙂 I love the chicken broth based sauce, and the broccoli is like the cherry on top!

    • — Jamie R on January 28, 2021
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  • I just made this recipe last night!! The orecchiette with sausage and broccoli has made it into our favorite dinner rotation. The combination of ingredients is awesome! I especially love the fresh broccoli! Cutting and rinsing the broccoli ahead of time really helps me to keep the recipe flowing. The Pecorino Romano is definitely worth buying. It takes the dish up to the next level.

    • — Debra on January 28, 2021
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  • Broccoli, sausage and pasta—love this combination, and your recipe does it justice! I especially like that there is no heavy cream or half and half as many similar recipes tend to include. The flavor is awesome. While I appreciate the freezing advice, I don’t ever see there being enough leftovers to freeze. 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe.

    • — Karen on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe is delicious, easy and a perfect way to add one of those all important Cruciferous vegetables to my routine. It is perfect as left overs, I add a little more chicken stock when reheating.

    • — Pat Wilson on January 28, 2021
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  • I love this recipe! It has become a “family favorite” and now I try and have the ingredients on hand whenever I need a quick and tasty dinner. I once made it when my grand-daughter stayed over for a few days. She devoured it and then asked for another helping. “Do you think you could give my mom the recipe?” So, this recipe has been kid tested and whole-heartedly approved!

    • — Nancy on January 28, 2021
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    • Delicious! I didnt have any fresh broccoli on hand so used frozen (i microwaved it for 2 min). Also used GF pasta. This is my favorite thing to order in restaurants but was never able to get it to replicate at home until now! So glad i found this website.

      • — Laura on February 13, 2021
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  • This has become a family favorite and is now part of a regular rotation. I add just a little more broccoli otherwise I prepare as written. My kids even enjoy the leftovers cold the next day.

    • — Cindy Y on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe is very good. I do find that if it isn’t eaten on the first day, it gets dry when reheating. The Once Upon a Chef website is my go-to for recipes. Thank you!

    • — Thelma on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is an easy and delicious dish. Very comforting food and everyone loves it, including kids. I have made it five times and even served it to company. I make it as is except add a little more crushed red pepper.

    • — Nancy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is soooooo good! A favorite at my house. I have to stop myself from making it too often! We fight over any leftovers the next day. Quick and easy to make as well.

    • — Nancy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Awesome and easy almost one-pot recipe ( if you don’t count the pot for cooking the pasta!) that we now make in our household quite often when I don’t know what else to cook! I usually have some broccoli in my veggie drawer every week and can usually find italian sausage in my freezer.
    It’s tasty and everyone loves it! Thanks Jennifer for your knowledge and tried and true recipe collection! My daughter bought me your book also for Christmas this year!

    • — Barbara on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe has been added as part of the regular rotation in our house. I love any dish that gets my teenagers to eat more vegetables. It is really good reheated the next day too, just add a little chicken broth to keep it moist.

    • — Amy on January 28, 2021
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  • What an easy , quick, and delicious recipe. Was pressed for time and this was a perfect recipe to use . Only change I made was using Italian turkey sausage, which I had on hand. The light broth was perfect for the pasta to cradle. A new favorite!

    • — Kim Kapetanis on January 28, 2021
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  • A friend recommended this recipe and I was surprised at the amount of flavor it has with such a simple list of ingredients. My family loves chicken Italian sausage so I add some when I make it and sub Banza chickpea elbows to make it gluten free.

    • — Deanne on January 28, 2021
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  • Another recipe from Jenn that was a big hit!
    Quick, easy comfort that is perfect for a weeknight meal.

    • — Julie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This dish has become a go-to for weeknights with my family. It comes together in a flash. Broccoli is a family favorite around here, so everyone is happy when I make this. Such a comforting dish on these cold winter nights. We always enjoy a loaf of crusty French bread with this meal.

    • — Amy Grimes on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this because it was quick, easy, and healthy. It was fun to try a new pasta shape I’d never heard of before. The dish was kid tested and approved! Thanks for the delicious recipe! Everything I’ve ever made in this site has turned out perfectly.

    • — Sera on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Quick family dinner that I usually double the recipe for great leftovers. The sausage and the red pepper flakes takes this flavor over the top while utilizing a broth based sauce which keeps the calories down! I was leary to use the red pepper flakes as they can heat up a dish quickly; however, this made the perfect combination in this dish. #greatleftovers #quickmeal #greatflavor

    • — Amy on January 28, 2021
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  • Great flavor, crowd pleaser! I made this for dinner for a big group of people and it was easy to double and everyone loved it! I think I started with just ground sausage, not the kind in casings and that helped with time.

    • — jess on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • My family loved this! It is very flavorful and the broccoli is so good that my husband became a broccoli lover. My favorite part of the recipe is that the directions are clear and it turns out great every time I make it with no changes.

    • — Pam Lappp on January 28, 2021
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  • Came out great! My family loved this

    • — Sarah on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a regular recipe in our house. It is super easy to make and the flavor combination is fantastic. It’s just my husband and I so we always have leftovers, and it heats up great the next day. Love, love this recipe!

    • — Lori Larson on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • My husband and I loved this recipe, which I made exactly as provided. It came together in less than 30-minutes for a quick and easy supper. Serve it with a side salad and it’s a warm and comforting meal on a cold winter night.

    • — Myrna Bein on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Quick and very tasty! Use the Pecorino Romano, it’s worth it. We make once a month and look forward to it. Reliably good recipes here — we have the cookbook, as well. Thank you!

    • — Julie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is such an excellent, flavorful week night meal that is sure to please picky eaters. It can be difficult to find orecchiette but it is worth it to seek it out because the shape of the pasta compliments the sausage and also perfectly holds onto the cheesy, salty nature of the dish.

    • — Katie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely love this recipe! The first time I made it, I was a bit skeptical that the minimal amount of broth would be enough to make a nice sauce…it turned out perfectly! The tender crunch of broccoli, sausage and orecchiette…delicious! Definitely use Romano and a pinch of red pepper. I share this recipe with friends as a favorite.. Never disappoints.

    • — Linda Fimognari on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is the first recipe I made and it was a hit. I used chicken sausage because of my 92 year old dad doesn’t eat red meat. He and the rest of my family gobbled this up since I never use sausage in recipes. The Pecorino gives it such a great flavor. Jenn, you are making me a rockstar! Thank you!

    • — Darlene on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a family favorite and is frequently requested for dinner. We’ve tried other recipes and nothing compares to this. So easy to make and really is a delicious addition to our family dinners 1-2x/month.

    • — Lara Hobson on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is the perfect weeknight meal. So quick but so tasty! My husband doesn’t even like broccoli but he devours this recipe. It’s even quicker if you buy pre-cut broccoli florets

    • — Mallory on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • One of my go to recipes when I’m craving something simple yet flavorful. My whole family loves it!

    • — Limyrza Sanchez on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe rocks! My kids love it and it’s an easy weeknight meal to make on those busy nights. We have so many favorites but this is one we make on rotation.

    • — Carrie Kramer on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I make this recipe all the time. It is my son in law’s favorite. It does freeze well.

    • — pat dyckes on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this twice now and both times were big hits. It tastes like comfort food, which makes it appealing to both kids and meat-and-potato husbands, but the flavor and texture are much more interesting than spaghetti or mac and cheese. It’s a great way to sneak in an extra serving of veggies.

    • — Laurie on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Our whole family loves this recipe. A quick and easy meal to make during the week, but so delicious. I follow the recipe as it is.

    • — Buffy Grimshaw on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Pasta usually elicits sighs of “boring” from my family, but this one always gets an enthusiastic welcome. The still-slightly crisp broccoli sets of the rich sausage and sauce for wonderful one-dish dinner. I’ve also swapped in whatever hard cheese I had handy for slight variations that all taste great.

    • — Spencer on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a fantastic weeknight recipe! It’s in our weekly rotation now that we are running around after a toddler. So easy, so good. I usually cook the broccoli just a little less than called for, and add in a can of white beans as well.

    • — Dani Denman on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • So yummy! Make sure to use good quality sausage meat– this really affects the outcome of the recipe!

    • — Naomi on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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