This Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Baby Broccoli is one of my favorite pasta recipes because it has everything going for it. The kick of the spicy sausage, the freshness of the baby broccoli, and of course lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
It's a wonderful recipe for a weeknight meal because it takes minimal ingredients and comes together quickly and easily! For another sausage pasta recipe that's great for a Sunday night dinner when you have a bit more time, try my Baked Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage.
Why You'll Love This:
- A really easy pasta recipe that has both protein and vegetables
- Affordable dinner idea since sausage is inexpensive
- Kids love this one too! Just serve the red pepper flakes on the side
- Makes for great leftovers for the lunchbox the next day!
Looking for more easy pasta recipes? Try my Creamy Tomato Sauce Linguine, or my Angel Hair Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, or my Ravioli with Creamy Pesto Sauce, Spinach, and Peas. All easy pasta recipes for a weeknight meal!
Watch My Video Demo of This Recipe Below
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Boil the Pasta to Al Dente
Cook the pasta until al dente. Otherwise, if it's overcooked it will fall apart and get a bit too mushy. Al dente should be a bit "toothy" as the Italians would say which means it still has a touch of firmness to it.
How to Pronounce Orecchiette
I use orecchiette pasta for this recipe. It's pronounced OR-ray_KAY-et-tay, because it reassembles a little ear in shape. You can listen to the Italian pronunciation in this video by Julien Miquel.
I find these other pasta work well with sausage too!
- Penne Pasta
- Bow-Tie Pasta
- Fusili Pasta
- Shell Pasta
Be Sure to Salt the Water
To get more flavor from your pasta don't skip the salting of the pasta water. Italians will say the water should "taste like the sea!" In case that helps. The salt will give your pasta more flavor.
Prepping the Italian Sausage
- Remove the sweet Italian sausage from its casings I find the texture is better if it's cooked in crumbling pieces. It also will brown better that way too, increasing its flavor.
- If serving this to children I use the sweet Italian sausage and serve the red pepper flakes on the side. Since this dish is really great with a little bit of a kick, but sometimes that can really turn off the kids from trying new things!
- But if spiciness is not an issue, then use the hot Italian sausage, and you'll have the "heat" already baked into the dish.
Cooking the Sausage
- Cook the sausage in a little olive oil on medium-high heat, cutting it up with a wooden spoon and browning on all sides.
- The more it's cut up, the more surface area you'll have for browning which is what gives the sausage so much flavor.
- The browning also helps create the pan drippings which will be the basis of the simple sauce, which comes next.
- So don't wash out the pan after cooking the sausage!
Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon once it's cooked through. Allow the sausage to drain on paper towels and either use it right away or transfer it to a container and place it in the refrigerator.
Making the Sauce
The simple sauce makes this dish so flavorful and delicious. It involves deglazing the pan the sausage was cooked in with white wine, and simmering until slightly reduced.
Then add the chicken broth and reduce it by a third. If you don't drink, you can omit the wine and just add all chicken broth.
Adding the Sausage and Broccoli
Add in the sausage and the baby broccoli and cook the broccoli just for 1-2 mins until bright green. You don't want to overcook it or it will lose its color along with a lot of its nutrients!
This time of year you can find the baby broccoli in the markets and I love to use it for weeknight meals because it cooks up so quickly and can also be easier for the little ones to chew. But if you can't find the baby broccoli you certainly could use regular broccoli too!
Other Vegetables That Go Well with Sausage
If you are not a fan of broccoli you could also add some spinach or peppers.
For The Spinach Substitution:
- In place of the broccoli add 2 cups of washed, baby spinach. Cook the spinach in the sauce until wilted and then continue with the recipe as directed
For the Pepper Substitution:
- Before cooking the sausage, sautee 1 cup of mixed bell peppers in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Once the peppers are tender, transfer them to a bowl and set them aside.
- Add the peppers in the sauce in place of the baby broccoli and continue as directed
Toss the Pasta with the Sausage
Add cooked pasta to the sausage and broccoli. Turn to coat the mixture with sauce. Then add some freshly grated parmesan cheese and turn to coat.
Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl, top with a little more cheese and freshly chopped Italian parsley and red pepper flakes (if using the mild Italian sausage).
More Recipes You'll Enjoy!
- Sundried Tomato Pantry Pasta
- Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup
- Spinach Ravioli with Sautéed Veggies
- Baked Mac and Cheese
Please let me know if you make this recipe
by leaving a rating and review below!
- 1 lb (450g) Orecchiette Pasta
- 2 teaspoon (10 ml) olive oil
- 1 lb (450g) Italian Pork Sausage (mild or hot) removed from their casings
- 3 cups (700ml) baby broccoli, or broccolini or rapini
- ¼ cup (60 ml) white wine
- 2 cups (480ml) chicken broth
- ½ cup (45g) freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) Italian parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- Boil pasta according to package instructions.
- In a large sauté pan heat olive oil, cook sausage, cutting up with a wooden spoon and browning on all sides. Cook until cooked through.
- Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour oil out of pan, but leave any drippings in the pan.
- Deglaze pan with wine, simmer until slightly reduced add chicken broth and reduce by ⅓.
- Add in sausage and baby broccoli cook broccoli just for 1-2 mins until bright green.
- Drain pasta, add pasta to sausage and broccoli. Turn to coat with sauce. Add cheese and turn to coat.
- Transfer to a large serving bowl, top with a little more cheese and freshly chopped Italian parsley and red pepper flakes (if using mild Italian sausage)
- Makes for great leftovers!
- If you can't find orecchiette pasta you could also use penne, fusilli, bow-tie or shell pasta.
- If serving this to children I use the sweet Italian sausage and serve red pepper flakes on the side. Since this dish is really great with a little bit of a kick. But if spiciness is not an issue, then use the hot Italian sausage.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 293mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 12g