Orechiete Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

Not only is this meal easy and delicious but, it is also a GREAT way to get your veggies into your day.  The broccoli cooks with the pasta so it gets really soft and ends up looking almost like a pesto sauce in the dish.  I don’t repeat recipes very often so the fact that I came back to this only a few months since first making it means I love it.

Alan and I like spice so I use hot sausage when I make this dish but, you can use mild if you aren’t a heat-seeker.  I have found that the recipe ends up not needing any added salt at all.  Between the parmesan and the sausage, it is plenty salty.  Give this easy and cheap dish a shot.  It was a crowd pleaser for both kids and adults alike in our house.  The recipe originally came from Skinnytaste.com.

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Ingredients:
  • 14 oz package Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
  • 12 oz uncooked pasta (or brown rice or quinoa pasta for gluten-free)
  • 6 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets, no stems (16 oz)
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile heat a large nonstick skillet and brown the sausage over medium-high, breaking it up as it cooks with a wooden spoon until browned, 5 to 7 minutes; remove from heat.

When the water boils, add the pasta and bring back to a boil, when the water is boiling, add broccoli and cook according to pasta instructions for al dente. When pasta is almost done cooking, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and broccoli.

Return the pot to the stove and set heat to high; add 1 tbsp olive oil, when hot, add garlic. Cook until golden, about 1 minute, reduce flame to low and add pasta back to the pot with the sausage.

Mix well, add remaining olive oil, grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste mixing well and smashing any large pieces of broccoli to break up.
Add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and mix well adding more if needed.
Serve in pasta bowls with additional grated cheese on the side, if desired.

 

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