Orecchiette With Broccoli and Sausage

Time: 30 min

Serves 4


  • 1 large head of broccoli (1 1/4 - 1 1/2 lb.), cut into florets, stalk peeled and coarsely chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 12 oz. fresh Italian sausage (about 3 links), casings removed

  • Crushed red pepper flakes

  • 12 oz. orecchiette

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1 1/2 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 1/2 cups), plus more for serving

Step 1

Cook broccoli in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a colander and let cool (save pot of water for cooking pasta). Chop broccoli into small pieces; set aside.

Step 2

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium Cook garlic, shaking skillet occasionally, until is tarts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add sausage and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and break up meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook stirring occasionally and continuing to break up sausage, until it is browned and cooked through, 6-8 minutes.

Step 3

Bring reserved pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until barely al dente, about 9 minutes (set a timer for 3 minutes less than the package instructions; it will cook more in the skillet).

Step 4

Meanwhile, ladle about 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid from pot into a skillet with sausage and add blanched broccoli. Keep mixture at a low simmer, stirring often and mashing with spoon to break up sausage even more, until pasta is finished cooking.

Step 5

Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer pasta to skillet, then ladle in 1/2 cup pasta water. Cook, stirring, until pasta absorbs most of the liquid and is just al dente, about 4 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted, then transfer pasta to a large bowl. Gradually add 1 1/2 oz. Parmesan, tossing constantly until you have a glossy, emulsified sauce.

Serve pasta topped with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes and a drizzle of oil.