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Pasta with Broccoli, Spinach and Sausage

Pasta with Broccoli, Spinach and Sausage

A luscious sauce with hints of Parmesan cheese and a subtle kick of heat surround tender bites of broccoli, creamy spinach and Italian sausage. This is an amazing pasta dish  – one that stands on its own. And best of all it can be made in a single pot – pasta and all!

This fabulous pasta is a blend of two recipes – one from Emily who is always on top of great menu ideas – and an older recipe from one of my favorite Food & Wine books simply titled Pasta.

Both versions include Italian sausage and broccoli plus a kick of heat, a generous dose of fresh garlic and Parmesan cheese. Emily’s recipe adds fresh spinach and the heat in her dish comes compliments of Calabrian chili paste – a thick Italian chili paste made from dried Peperoncini, aka chili peppers .

Though you can use penne pasta, the orecchiette marries into this dish in a beautiful way. The orecchiette – which means “little ears”- becomes slightly creamy as it cooks and its curved shape grabs the right amount of sauce in every bite.

Pour in some half and half to finish the sauce and you have found your way to a beautiful pasta  filled with loads of flavor and layers of texture!

It’s an easy dish that’s deliciously rich, warm and filling!

Pasta with Broccoli, Spinach and Sausage

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound bulk mild pork or chicken Italian sausage or 4 links, casings removed

2 small heads of broccoli

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 4 to 5 cloves

2 cups chicken stock

2-1/2 to 3 cups water

1 pound orecchiette or penne pasta

¼ shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

1 tablespoon chili paste, such as Calabrian*

2 cups half and half

¾ pound fresh baby spinach

Warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage, breaking it up into pieces and cook until the meat is browned. Transfer it to a bowl lined with a paper towel to drain.

Trim the florets from the broccoli heads, discard the stems. You should have about 6 to 6-1/2 cups of broccoli florets.

Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the broccoli florets, ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt, the pepper and the minced garlic. Cook until the broccoli is tender crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage.

Pour the chicken stock and 2-1/2 cups of the water into the pan and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta and the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook until the pasta is just starting to become tender – about 1 minute short of the recommended cooking time. Use the last 1/2 cup of water only if needed to finish cooking the pasta.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the cooked sausage and the broccoli along with ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese and the chili paste.

Pour in the half and half, stirring to blend into the pasta. Toss the spinach into the pan and cook until the spinach has wilted,  the pasta is tender and the sausage is cooked through – about 10 minutes – stirring frequently.

Serve with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

*Calabrian chili paste is an Italian chili paste made from dried Peperoncini – chili peppers. It can be found in specialty food markets or online. You can substitute with other types of chili paste or in a pinch you can use sriracha or red pepper flakes.

Pasta with Broccoli, Spinach and Sausage, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 6, 2019
: Makes 4 to 6 servings.

A luscious sauce with hints of Parmesan cheese and a subtle kick of heat envelops tender bites of broccoli, creamy spinach and Italian sausage.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound bulk mild pork or chicken Italian sausage or 4 links, casings removed
  • 2 small heads of broccoli
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 4 to 5 cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups water
  • 1 pound orecchiette or penne pasta
  • ¼ shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste, such as Calabrian*
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ¾ pound fresh baby spinach
Directions
  • Step 1 Warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage, breaking it up into pieces and cook until the meat is browned. Transfer it to a bowl lined with a paper towel to drain.
  • Step 2 Trim the florets from the broccoli heads, discard the stems. You should have about 6 to 6-1/2 cups of broccoli florets.
  • Step 3 Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the broccoli florets, ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt, the pepper and the minced garlic. Cook until the broccoli is tender crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
  • Step 4 Pour the chicken stock and 2-1/2 cups of the water into the pan and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta and the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook until the pasta is just starting to become tender – about 1 minute short of the recommended cooking time. Use the last 1/2 cup of water only if needed to finish cooking the pasta.
  • Step 5 Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the sausage and the broccoli along with ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese and the chili paste.
  • Step 6 Pour in the half and half, stirring to blend into the pasta. Toss the spinach into the pan and cook until the spinach has wilted, the pasta is tender and the sausage is cooked through – about 10 minutes – stirring frequently.
  • Step 7 Serve with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
  • Step 8 *Calabrian chili paste is an Italian chili paste made from dried Peperoncini – chili peppers. It can be found in specialty food markets or online. You can substitute with other types of chili paste or in a pinch you can use sriracha or red pepper flakes.


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