Sunday, November 20, 2016

Spicy Italian Sausage and Broccoli Sauce for Pasta

I've spent the weekend planning my Thanksgiving Day and other menus for next week when we'll have family in town. Today's recipe is going to be featured one day for lunch or dinner. It's a new favorite, possibly the best new dinner I've come up with in awhile. It's not innovative - folks have been making sausage and broccoli sauces forever. But mine is a red sauce.

Here's what to love about it: it's, like, the easiest weeknight dinner that you will ever make; it's possibly the most comforting meal, ever, AND, AND, AND it's really good leftover!  One day at work I was liveblogging my lunch with an off-site coworker who either thought I had an overabundance of enthusiasm about my lunch or advanced to the nearest Whole Foods to buy the ingredients to make it for her own family.

If I bring it to work, I end up nukeing it to reheat. Otherwise, I employ my tried and true method of reheating pasta: heat 1-2 T water in saucepan or skillet, then add pasta and stir in. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until well heated. You need it thoroughly reheated but be careful as overcooking will turn it to mush. Taste for seasoning, adding parm, salt or pepper as needed. I had a friend in college who swore by her mom's fried spaghetti - a story that still makes me cringe.

Here's that recipe.

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli
Print recipe only here

3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage*
2 cloves garlic

1 8-ounce package baby broccoli, cut into 2-inch long pieces
1 fourteen-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
8-12 oz penne or quinoa pasta (I use quinoa pasta for this all the time)

2-4 T freshly grated Parm or Grana Padano

Heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and garlic and saute for 6-8 minutes, breaking up the sausage and allowing it to brown all over. Add the entire can of tomatoes and juices to the pot, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands. Bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Prep a large bowl of ice water.

Add broccoli and boil for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the bowl filled with ice water. Add the pasta to the same pot of water and cook until al dente. When the pasta has about 2 minutes left to cook, drain the baby broccoli and add to the saucepan.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, stirring completely. Add freshly grated Grana Padano and serve.

* A note on the sausage: I've been buying the Niman Ranch bulk sausage locally at Plum Market. Whole Foods also carries it sometimes. I like both because they're of the leaner variety.

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