The backbone of this dish is orecchiette—a round-shaped pasta named for the “little ears” they resemble. The pasta is tossed with bites of broccoli and sweet sausage, and then given a nice coating of basil-packing pesto and Parmesan cheese. It works wonderfully as a side dish for 6-8 hungry mouths (just in time for Thanksgiving), but you can also enjoy it as a meal for two any night of the week.
Produced in a facility that processes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybean.
/ serving 4 people
/ serving 4 people
Sweet Italian Pork Sausage
Wash and dry all produce. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut any large broccoli florets into bite-size pieces. Remove sausage from casings.
Once water is boiling, add orecchiette to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 9-12 minutes. Carefully scoop out and reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain.
Heat a large drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add broccoli and 4 tsp water. Cover and steam 3 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium high. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 3-6 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
Heat another large drizzle of olive oil in same pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage, breaking up meat into pieces. Cook until crisp at edges and no longer pink, 4-5 minutes. Add a pinch of chili flakes (to taste) and cook another 30 seconds. TIP: Skip the chili flakes if anyone in your family is sensitive to spicy heat.
Add orecchiette, broccoli, pesto, pasta cooking water, and half the Parmesan to pan. Toss until everything is well-coated and a thick sauce has formed, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer pasta mixture to a serving dish (or serve it straight from the pan). Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and serve, letting everyone help themselves.