This Sausage with Broccoli and Pasta dish is quick, easy, hearty, and delicious. It’s loaded with garlic and sweet Italian sausage mixed with pasta and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! A KISS recipe – Keep It Short Simple!
Today I am going to make one of my family’s favorite dishes – Sausage with Broccoli and Pasta. It’s one of those meals that I turn to when I don’t have a lot of time but I want something hearty and delicious.
My Zia Julia would make a meatless version of this dish and the smell of garlic would fill the room. She would serve it to me with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese – whichever was on hand – and we would eat and talk about food.
A note about the ingredients…
I buy good quality sausage that has little fat making it unnecessary to drain after sautéing.
I use frozen broccoli florets that I buy in bulk at my local Costco. It’s organic, comes in 1 pound packages making it very convenient, and excellent quality.
I use whatever pasta I have – rigatoni, celestini, ziti, or gemelli.
This dish has lots of garlic in it. I use at least 1 tablespoon of minced garlic in this dish. Of course, you don’t have to put as much as I do but, I definitely recommend at least 1 tablespoon.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add a tablespoon of kosher salt. Cook your pasta a few minutes less than it states on the box. It needs to be al dente – has a bite to it. Right before the pasta is done, a cup of the pasta water will be added to the broccoli mixture while the pasta is cooking. This meal is done quickly therefore, cooking the pasta and preparing the sausage broccoli mixture are done at same time. If you prefer to do it in two separate steps rather than at the same time, just reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining pasta. Otherwise…
While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add a 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil and sauté the sausage breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until sausage loses its pink color.
Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and a 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté until the garlic aroma takes over the entire room but does not darken in color. We do not want the garlic to turn bitter.
Add 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of frozen broccoli florets. I use 2 pounds because I love broccoli and more is better in this case. This is a very forgiving dish. The ice attached to the broccoli is enough to cool the pan down and slow the cooking process. Turn the heat to medium and add 1 – 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and a half a teaspoon of pepper or salt and pepper to your taste.
Add in the reserved pasta water. Stir, cover, and let cook until the broccoli is tender.
I have to disclose that I do not like crunchy broccoli in this dish. I prefer it cooked a little more so it just loses the bright green color. Not mushy but not crunchy. Some may consider it overcooked. That is how it was always served to me. If you prefer your broccoli crunchy, by all means stop the cooking process when the broccoli is the color and texture that pleases you.
Drain the pasta and transfer to your serving dish. Add the broccoli to the pasta and combine. When you add the hot broccoli mixture to the pasta, the pasta will continue to cook and absorb the flavors of the sauce. My Zio Tony was adamant about under cooking the pasta.
Finally, sprinkle with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. That’s it! This dish is quick, easy, hearty, and delicious. I hope you and your family enjoy!
Thanks for visiting…
- 1 pound pasta - zita, rigatoni, celestini, gemelli, or pasta of your choice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 pounds frozen broccoli florets
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add a tablespoon of kosher salt. Cook your pasta a few minutes less than it states on the box.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil and sauté the sausage breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until sausage loses its pink color.
- Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute.
- Add the frozen broccoli florets. The ice attached to the broccoli is enough to cool the pan down and slow the cooking process. Turn the heat to medium and add the salt and pepper. Adjust to your taste.
- Add in the reserved pasta water. Stir, cover, and let cook until the broccoli is tender.
- Drain the pasta and transfer to your serving dish. Add the broccoli to the pasta and combine.
- Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. That’s it! Easy!
- Mangia! Mangia!