Sausage Broccolini Pasta is a classic Italian dish that’s so easy to make. You’ll love that this hearty pasta dish comes together in just 30 minutes with only a handful of ingredients.
It’s the perfect midweek meal to feed your hungry family fast!!
Just like my Tortellini alla Panna and my Rigatoni Arrabbiata, this pasta with sausage and broccolini is so hearty and flavorful. The secret is using crumbled sausage meat to develop big flavors in just minutes. This bold flavor from the sausages, combined with the sweetness of broccolini and the chewiness of orecchiette, makes this Sausage Broccolini Pasta incredibly addictive.
Orecchiette pasta is an eggless pasta that is very similar to my Cavatelli Pasta as they are both made using durum wheat flour or semolina flour and water. It is chewy, dense and the perfect ‘dome’ shape for holding the sausage and broccolini sauce.
This Sausage Broccolini Pasta is the perfect midweek meal for your busy (and hungry) family. Broccolini is such a nutritious vegetable and you’ll love that it is a key ingredient in this delicious pasta recipe.
Trust me, even the pickiest eaters will love eating broccolini in this tasty pasta dish. You definitely need to add this Sausage Broccolini Pasta to your weekly dinner rotation now!
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
Table of Contents
- Extra virgin olive oil - I love to use extra virgin olive oil for this Sausage Broccolini Pasta recipe but you can use regular olive oil (if that’s all you have). The pasta sauce has only a few ingredients, so you can really taste the deliciousness of the olive oil.
- Italian sausage - Make sure that you choose a sausage that you like, because it will bring so much flavor to the dish. I used a mild or sweet Italian sausage from my local butcher. But spicy Italian sausage also works well.
- Garlic - Use fresh garlic cloves that are plump and juicy
- Chicken stock - Homemade stock is always best, but store bought can easily be substituted
- Rosemary - I used a sprig of fresh rosemary from my garden but you could easily use dried rosemary instead.
- Salt - Regular salt is fine for this sauce.
- Black pepper - I like to use black pepper and grind it fresh but use pre ground if that’s all you have
- Orecchiette - The name of this deliciously chewy and dense pasta shape literally translates to “little ears” in Italian. It hails from Puglia in the south of Italy and is most loved when served with a broccolini or broccoli sauce. The cupped shape of this pasta is perfect for ‘picking up’ the sauce.
- Broccolini - It is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli, so it is very similar to broccoli but with florets and longer stalks. I cook with broccolini all the time because it is so easy to cook, sweeter than broccoli and still very nutritious.
- Pecorino Romano cheese - This is similar to Parmesan cheese, in that they are both a hard salty cheese. However, Pecorino Romano is made with sheep’s milk as opposed to cow’s milk. I also find it is much more savory and punchy than Parmesan which is more rounded in flavor.
See recipe card for quantities.
The first thing you need to do to make Sausage Broccolini Pasta is to bring a large pot of water to the boil and salt it well.
- Wash the broccolini and cut the stalks into ½ inch (1½ cm) pieces while leaving the florets at the top whole.
- Peel the sausages and break them up with a fork or your hands.
- Add the sliced garlic to a large frying pan with the oil and cook over medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant and sizzles. Add the sausage meat and break it up with a wooden spoon while frying. Cook until it is no longer pink and beginning to brown.
- Pour in the chicken broth, rosemary, salt and freshly ground black pepper into the pan and turn down the heat so that the sauce simmers while the pasta and broccolini cook.
Add the pasta to boiling salted water and cook according to the package instructions or al dente. In the last three minutes, add the broccolini.
Once drained, stir the pasta and broccolini through the sausage sauce before adding the Pecorino Romano cheese and some reserved pasta water. Serve this Sausage Broccolini Pasta warm, with more Pecorino Romano cheese.
- You can easily substitute grated Parmesan cheese for the Pecorino Romano
- Instead of using broccolini, make this with broccoli florets or broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe (which is also known as rapini) is a Mediterranean vegetable that slightly resembles broccolini, however, it is much more bitter. In Italy, it is traditional to make this pasta with broccoli rabe, but I find broccolini is much more common in my grocery store.
- Pork and fennel sausages would be a lovely substitution for Italian sausages
- If you can’t find orecchiette pasta, try another short pasta like rigatoni, conchiglie (shells) or cavatelli
- If you are a lover of spicy foods, add some red pepper flakes to the sauce for a kick.
- You can easily make this gluten free by using chickpea pasta or another variety that you like.
- If you’re vegetarian, make a meat free version by replacing the Italian sausages with a dollop of tomato paste.
If you have any leftover Sausage Broccolini Pasta, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheat it in the microwave. I don’t recommend freezing this dish.
Tips for Success and FAQ’s
Be sure to salt the water well. I’ve heard people say it should taste like the sea but I’m not sure about that. I usually add a big tablespoonful (or two smaller spoonfuls) of salt to the water for a pound (500 grams) of pasta.
Take care that you don’t burn the garlic. A little color will make this Sausage Broccolini Pasta recipe so fragrant, but if it becomes any darker in color it may burn and add a bitter taste to your pasta. You can avoid this by adding the oil and garlic to a cold pan and then heating slowly until the garlic is fragrant.
Don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water. Just before you drain the pasta, take a cup of the starchy pasta water, so that you can lengthen your sauce if it becomes dry.
Broccoli can develop a bitter taste if it is not fresh or grown out of season. However, broccolini is much sweeter and in my experience, does not develop the same bitter taste. I do prefer broccolini for this recipe for this reason and it is far easier to prepare.
Oh - reck - KYEH - teh. It looks difficult, but try saying it fast and putting the emphasis on the KYEH sound. Keep in mind that CH in Italian is pronounced as a K sound.
This is naturally a very light sauce and depending on a variety of factors it can become a little dry. My tip is to reserve some of the deliciously starchy pasta cooking water before draining your pasta. When you combine the sausage, broccolini and cheese with the pasta, add a little water and begin thoroughly stirring. The water will form an emulsion with the cheese and cooking oils. You can add a little more pasta water and cheese until you have the desired consistency.
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Sausage Broccolini Pasta Recipe
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ pound Italian sausage 250 grams
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 sprig of rosemary ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon salt plus extra salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound orecchiette 500 grams
- 1 pound broccolini 500 grams
- ½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for serving
- Bring a large pot of boiling water to the boil.
- Wash the broccolini then cut the stalks into ½ inch pieces leaving the florets at the top whole. Set aside.
- Peel the sausages and break them up with a fork or your hands. Set aside.
- Peel and slice the garlic and add to a large skillet or sauté pan along with the oil. Place the skillet over medium heat until the garlic starts to become fragrant and sizzle.
- Then add the sausage meat, frying and breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink and is beginning to brown.
- Add chicken broth, rosemary, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer while the pasta and broccolini cook (approximately 13 minutes).
- When the water is boiling, salt liberally (approximately 2 tablespoons) and add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. In the last three minutes add the chopped broccolini. Before draining, reserve a cup of water. Drain the pasta and broccolini then add to the pan of sausage.
- Stir the pasta, broccolini and sausage well adding the Pecorino Romano cheese and some of the reserved pasta water if it seems dry. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Serve hot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and lots more Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Be sure to salt the water well.
- Take care that you don’t burn the garlic.
- Reserve the pasta water to lengthen the sauce if it becomes dry.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.