This Spicy Sausage Pasta with Lemon & Broccoli is traditional pasta is quick and easy, plus it’s a favorite with the guys. Broccoli rabe and orrechiette pasta are classically used for this dish, but we’re going to be using broccoli, chicken sausage, and a chunky whole wheat pasta. This dish is a great vehicle for healthy broccoli. It defies its bland, dull stereotype, turning it into something quite other. Just be sure to make the florets small so that they cook through quickly. Undercook the pasta by 1 minute so it can finish cooking in the sauce. In the summer, try adding 12 cup fresh, ripe, chopped tomato instead of the reserved cooking water at step 5.
1. Peel and thinly julienne the thick parts of the broccoli stems. Set aside.
2. Bring salt water to boil. Add pasta and cook for 1 minute less than package instructions.
3. While the water is boiling heat the oil in a heavy frying pan at medium-high heat. Add the rosemary and red pepper flakes and fry for 1 minute. Add the sausage flattening it as you fry, breaking it up into small pieces. When it starts to turn brown, add the broccoli stems and garlic. Cook until the stems start to brown. Remove from heat if the pasta is not ready yet.
4. When the pasta is ready, heat up the pan with the sausage. With a slotted spoon transfer the pasta and ¼ cup of pasta water directly into the pan with sausage. Put the broccoli florets into the still boiling pasta water. Cook for one minute and transfer to the pan with sausage. Mix well to coat the broccoli and pasta.
5. Stir in lemon zest, juice, grated Parmesan, and then add the parsley into the sauce. Check for salt. Add a little more of the reserved water if the pan looks too dry. Grind some black pepper over it and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- 1 bunch broccoli broken into small florets, washed, stems reserved
- 4 ounces whole wheat pasta (use penne, rigatoni or any other chunky pasta)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 stalk of rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped or ½ teaspoon dried
- Pinch of dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 to 2 hot Italian style chicken sausages, squeezed out of their casings
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, smashed peeled and slice length ways
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
- Salt and black pepper, to taste