Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

This is one of my favorite weeknight meals. It has many things going for it. It’s fast to make. It’s a one-dish meal. It’s adaptable. And I usually have all the ingredients on hand. It’s also very tasty. Try it tonight.

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

Yields: About 4 servings.
Time to make: About 40 minutes.

  • Salt to taste
  • About 1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ to ½ pound Italian sausage, sliced or crumbled
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ pound cut pasta
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the broccoli until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Scoop the broccoli out of the water and set it aside.

Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds if you’re using them, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring for another minute or so. Add the broccoli and wine, and cook, mashing and stirring, 2 or 3 minutes more. Turn the heat to low to keep the sauce warm.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water. Drain it, reserving about a cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the broccoli sauce, along with some of the pasta water to keep the mixture from drying out. Serve immediately, with the Parmesan.

Notes: You can easily substitute cauliflower, broccoli rabe or any green for the broccoli. It is nice to add roasted red pepper or sun-dried tomatoes to this when it’s finished cooking. Cubed mozzarella is another good addition. Simplify this recipe even more by eliminating all ingredients after the red pepper flakes and tossing the broccoli mixture with cooked pasta.

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