Pasta with Broccoli & Sausage
In this recipe the broccoli is cooked until it breaks down into a thick puree, whch when flavored by the sausage, creates a delicious, mild pasta sauce. It works best with a cup-shaped pasta, such as orecchiette (ear-shaped) or shells, which catch and hold the thick sauce. It's really good, better than most people would imagine from the list of ingredients, and it's a great way to use excess broccoli.
Orecchiette con Broccoli e Salsicce
(Ear-Shaped Pasta with Broccoli & Sausage)
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 pound)
2 to 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup water
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound orecchiette or other small, cup-shaped pasta
1/2 cup grated Romano (or Parmesan)
Trim and peel broccoli stalks, and cut broccoli into quarters lengthwise.
Bring large pot of water to boil, add about 1 tablespoon salt, and cook broccoli until tender but still crisp (about 5 minutes).
Remove broccoli from water, drain and chop it fine.
Heat olive oil in medium fry pan over low heat, add garlic and cook until it releases its aroma. Add sausage, breaking it up, and cook until it loses its raw color.
Add broccoli to sausage in pan and mix together.
Add 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper, and cook slowly until the broccoli breaks down into a coarse puree, smashing the larger pieces with a spoon if necessary. Add more water if necessary to maintain a puree consistency.
Cook pasta in salted water (use the same water that you used for the broccoli). Drain, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.
Toss pasta with broccoli and 1/2 cup of grated cheese until cheese melts. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water if it seems too thick.