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Easy Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Recipe

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This orecchiette pasta with sausage and broccoli has all of the components you need for a quick and easy meal AND it comes together in 30 minutes, making it perfect for weeknight dinners. It has got protein, it has veggies, it has got major flavor, and it has pasta, which always seems to help any situation. You might even have everything you need to make this orecchiette pasta dish in your kitchen already, it’s made with just five simple ingredients.

I also use this same method and ingredients in my kale and sausage pasta. And if you like simple pastas that can come together in a skillet (without any baking), try my penne pomodoro, scallop linguine, chicken broccoli ziti, 10-minute pesto tortellini, or creamy tomato pasta next time.

Bowl of orecchiette with sausage and broccoli

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What You’ll Love About Orecchiette with Sausage

  • Major flavor
  • Easy dinner that’s ready in 30 minutes
  • Made with just 5 simple ingredients
  • Cozy and comforting meal
  • Family-friendly dinner

Ingredients

  • Broccoli – You can buy broccoli florets to save some time, but you’ll still need to trim them to make sure they are small and a similar size. Be sure to cut them into small pieces, so they are easy to eat.
  • Pasta – I’ve use orecchiette here, but you can use any shorter pasta like penne, farfalle, fusilli, rotini, or medium shells. You can also use your favorite gluten-free pasta for a gluten-free version.
  • Olive oil – Use a high quality olive oil for best flavor. You’ll also want a nice drizzling olive oil to finish the dish.
  • Italian sausage – If you can find it, look for Italian sausage that is not in casings. You can use hot, mild, or sweet sausage depending on your preference. You can also swap out the Italian sausage for your favorite plant-based sausage for a vegetarian option.
  • Garlic – Use fresh garlic for best flavor.
  • Toppings – Grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, and red pepper flakes
Ingredients to make Italian sausage pasta

How to Make Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli

This is an overview on how to make orecchiette sausage broccoli, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

Prep broccoli. Clean and trim broccoli, trimming florets to be a similar size.
Cook pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions, but take off heat 2 minutes early and reserve pasta water.
Cook sausage. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add sausage to pan. Cook, breaking up with a spoon or spatula and cook until browned.
Sauteeing Italian sausage in a skillet
Cook broccoli. Add chopped broccoli and garlic to pan, tossing everything together. Cook until broccoli has softened. TIP: You can also add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet and cover to help steam broccoli if you like it softer.
Sausage and broccoli in skillet for pasta
Toss pasta. Add drained pasta to skillet, along with some of the reserved pasta water. Toss everything together, adding more pasta water if it seems dry.
Serve. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, flaky sea salt, red pepper flakes, and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Skillet of sausage and broccoli pasta

FAQs

What is the best sausage for pasta?

You have a few different options! If you like a little heat, look for a hot Italian sausage. If you or your family doesn’t like spice, try a mild or sweet version. You can use turkey Italian sausage instead of a pork variety, but because it’s a little leaner, you may need an extra drizzle of olive oil while cooking the sausage and right before serving.

Look for Italian sausage that doesn’t have casing (so it isn’t in links) as it’s easy and ready-to-use. If you can’t find it, just slice open the casing with a sharp knife, and remove the sausage and discard the casing.

What is orecchiette?

This recipe calls for orecchiette which means little ears, and is pronounced “oh-reck-ee-ET-tay.” I just discovered that I’ve been saying it wrong all along, but I’ll say it like an Italian from here on out! You should be able to find orecchiette at any grocery store, or you can order it from amazon. You can also use a medium size pasta like penne, farfalle, fusilli, rotini, or medium shells.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover orecchiette pasta with sausage in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

How to reheat

Reheat sausage pasta dish in a hot skillet or in the microwave, until heated through. Drizzle with a little olive oil if it feels dry.

Can you freeze pasta?

Yes, you can freeze the pasta in an airtight container for 2-3 months, but for best texture, I don’t recommend it.

Bowl of orecchiette pasta with sausage and broccoli

What to Serve with Orecchiette Pasta

This sausage orecchiette pasta is supposed to really be a well-rounded meal, but if you want to add a side, here are few ideas:

How to Feed Sausage and Broccoli Pasta to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in.

I would recommend serving the orecchiette sausage and broccoli in a pinch bowl (taster bowl) if it’s a new or learning-to-like it food. Serve the meal with a few items you know your kids will eat, like fruit, milk, and/or bread and butter or leave out some of the pasta plain.

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Bowl of sausage and broccoli pasta

More Easy Pasta Recipes

If you like this orecchiette pasta recipe, you might like these other easy pasta recipes:

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Bowl of orecchiette with sausage and broccoli

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

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Description

This orecchiette with sausage and broccoli is a delicious and nutritious weeknight dinner. Ready in 30 min + made with 5 simple ingredients!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 16 oz. broccoli florets (about 2 small crowns)
  • 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 16 oz. raw Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • topping: grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, red pepper flakes, freshly cracked pepper, flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Prep broccoli: clean and trim broccoli. Chop florets into small pieces.
  2. Cook pasta as directed on package, but take off heat 2 minutes early. BE SURE TO RESERVE 1/2 CUP PASTA WATER.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to large skillet. When it’s hot, add sausage to pan, breaking up with the back of a spatula or spoon. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, until browned.
  4. Add chopped broccoli and garlic to pan, tossing everything together. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, until broccoli has softened.
  5. When pasta is finished cooking, add drained pasta to pan, along with 1/4 of the pasta water.
  6. Toss everything together and add extra pasta water if mixture seems dry.
  7. Serve with desired toppings: parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, flaky sea salt, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked pepper to taste.


Notes

  • Other pasta alternatives: See above, you don’t have to use orecchiette. 
  • Want to use less meat? Some Italian sausage is sold in 12 oz. packages, which would be fine to use here!

Keywords: orecchiette with sausage and broccoli, sausage and broccoli pasta, Italian sausage pasta

Food styling and photography by Loren Runion.

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Comments

  1. Sarah

    My entire family loves this dish! By request, it’s in our meal rotation at least every other week. Thank you for this quick, easy and healthy weeknight dinner for busy families!






  2. Heidi

    This was DELICIOUS and so easy to make! I used penne pasta which required a bit more pasta water. I highly recommend the toppings listed. So glad I have leftovers so I can eat this all week 🙂






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