I love pasta! It’s versatile, and a perfect foundation for a quick weeknight meal. I came across this recipe when I was looking for a dish that called for both Italian sausage and broccoli because I had both in the fridge and needed to use them. My whole family loved this pasta dish, and you know you’ve got a keeper when everyone from the 5-year-old on up to Grandma enjoys the meal.
I used penne pasta (didn’t have orecchiette) and Foster Farms turkey Italian sausage; the dish would also be really good with a spicy Italian sausage for some added kick. I really like onions with pasta so I thinly sliced half an onion and sauteed it with the sausage (omitting the scallions). Be sure to cook your garlic over medium low heat or it will brown too quickly or burn (not very tasty). Also, I added 1/3 cup of Kalamata olives toward the end of cooking when I added the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. This simple, flavorful pasta dish will be appearing regularly at our dinner table.
Orecchiette with Caramelized Garlic, Sausage & Broccoli
– recipe from Fine Cooking magazine
10 oz. broccoli crowns, cut into 1-1/2-inch florets
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, skinned and crumbled into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into thin strips
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
3/4 lb. dried orecchiette (or penne)
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
3 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; more for serving
scallions (whites and greens), thinly sliced
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Blanch the broccoli in the boiling water until it softens to a tender crunch, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer it to the bowl of cold water.
Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the sausage and sauté, stirring, until it browns and is just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Put the pasta in the water. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium low; add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and the garlic. Season with salt and cook, flipping the pieces occasionally, until they start to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high, drain the broccoli, and add it to the skillet, along with the sausage. Cook until everything is heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and thyme.
Finish cooking the pasta until it’s just tender, about 10 minutes total. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the broccoli. Raise the heat to high and toss well for 30 seconds. If the pasta appears dry, add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir in the lemon juice, Parmigiano and scallions. Add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately, sprinkled with more Parmigiano.