For the third installment of Going for the “Go To” Meals, I have decided to share my recipe for Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage. This is a hearty main dish that is both quick and easy to prepare. Also, its ingredients are very forgiving, and it can be modified to suit almost anyone’s dietary parameters. Vegetarian? Switch out the sausage and chicken broth for white beans and vegetable broth. Gluten-free? Use rice, spelt or one of the other many gluten-free pastas on the market. Don’t like broccoli? Well……that might be a problem, although, I’ll bet you could substitute something like cauliflower. (I might just have to try that sometime.)
This recipe requires only a few basic ingredients: pasta, frozen broccoli, Italian sausage, garlic, olive oil, chicken broth, salt and pepper or seasoning and grated cheese for sprinkling. Most of these are probably already hiding out in your kitchen. Any kind of pasta will work, but I recommend a short variety, like penne, rigatoni or gemelli. All of the cooking can be synchronized so that the pasta and the sauce are both ready at the same time. Toss together a quick salad to go with it, and you’ll have flavorful, satisfying and healthy meal in no time flat! It is a true “Go To” Meal!
Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage
1 lb. short pasta
1 lb. Italian sausage links (hot or sweet or a combination of both)
4 tbsp. olive oil and 1/4 c. olive oil, divided (Extra virgin olive oil is best.)
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise*
2 14 oz. packages broccoli cuts
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Fill a large stock pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. When boiling, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a broiler pan or baking sheet with the sausages. Drizzle a few drops of oil on top and toss. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and slice the sausages into 1/2 inch rounds. Do this in the pan to retain the juices. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the 4 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, reduce heat to medium and gently saute the garlic until fragrant and lightly golden.
Raise the heat back up to medium-high and mix in the broccoli. Cover and cook until the broccoli is slightly browned and very tender. This will take about 12-15 minutes, depending on your stove. You will have to keep watch and stir often to make sure that it doesn’t burn. If the broccoli mixture gets too dry, add more olive oil a little at a time.
Add the sausage, pan juices and chicken broth. Continue to cook, uncovered, until the liquid reduces by about 1/3.
Add salt and pepper flakes to taste.
Turn off the heat and add the drained pasta to the pan. Toss it all together and drizzle in a little more olive oil. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
Serve it right from the pan.
*Slicing the garlic lengthwise gives it a larger cooking surface, thereby reducing the risk of burning it. It also looks prettier.