Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cooking with Less: Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli for #SundaySupper

I know I've hit a home run with a meal when as we're eating it both My Director and Peanut say they want to take it for lunch the next day. This is one of those meals. It fills all of my prerequisites: quick, easy, healthy (relatively), and inexpensive. It also fills another important criteria: it passes on a tradition. This is my updated, healthier version of my mom's cavatelli and broccoli. I've made this for her as well, and she also approves. I love that three generations of Italians in my family (and my lovely WASP wife) can sit at my table and enjoy this meal together.





Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (about 5 medium links)
  • 2 heads broccoli crowns, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 6-8 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • grated Pecorino Romano to taste
Preparation:
  • Before you cook, you need to shop. Make sure you're using good sausage. Get it at an Italian butcher or some other place you trust. I say Italian butcher because a) I'm Italian and b) butchers can also be German, Jewish, Polish, etc. and their sausage may not taste the same.
  • Yes, every time I say or see the word "sausage," I chuckle. And when My Director says it, I guffaw then say something inappropriate if Peanut's not around.
  • Heat your grill to high. (You can also broil the sausage.)
  • Go back inside, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add broccoli, turning every minute or so until it's coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let broccoli cook for 5-10 minutes until it starts to get tender. Lower the heat a bit.
  • Put the sausages on the grill. Make sure you've poked a few holes in them with your grill fork so they don't explode. Turn the heat down to medium high. Cover.
  • Go back inside and put 6 cups of water on to boil for the pasta. Salt the water. Meanwhile, add the other tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic to the broccoli. Stir. Turn heat back up to medium. Stir every few minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't stick to the pan. When the garlic browns a bit, add chicken stock. Reduce heat to low. Cover.
  • Turn the sausage. Keep lid open and let cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Cover.
  • Pour your orecchiette into the water. Cook it 10-12 minutes. You want it to be a little al dente. 
  • The sausage is ready. Turn off your grill, remove the sausage. Slice it in 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. Or crumble it if you're feeling adventurous. Add the sausage and whatever drippings to the broccoli pan. Stir.
  • When the pasta is finished, add it to the broccoli and sausage mixture. Sprinkle in some more salt and pepper. Stir. Cover and cook another 5-10 minutes. 
  • Serve with with crushed red pepper and Pecorino Romano to taste.
  • Prep time: 35-40 minutes.
Making it Peanut-friendly:
  • My Director uses way too much salt on her food. To compensate, I DON'T use a lot of salt when I cook. So when I say "sprinkle salt and pepper" or "to taste," I mean as YOU usually might. 
  • She also doesn't like spicy food. (Or "picey" as Peanut calls it.) So I keep the crushed red pepper separate. If your family can take the heat, go ahead and add it at the end.
  • Peanut loves orecchiette because it "looks like little hats." My butcher - sorry, my Italian butcher - suggested this type of pasta for this dish a while back because those little hats collect little bits of broccoli and sausage and make every bite even more delicious.
  • Make enough for leftovers because your family will want to take it for lunch on Monday. This recipe fed the three of us. (Two bowlfuls each for me and My Director.) And we still had two servings for lunch. 

Thanks to Isabel from Family Foodie for inviting me to the table for #SundaySupper. You can check out all of the great recipes every week by following that hashtag on Twitter. Here are the rest of the great dishes for this week, inspired by everyone's heritage:

29 comments:

  1. I am loving this recipe! This is my first time to your blog and love it! I've followed and hope to see you at more #SundaySuppers!

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    1. Thank you, Pam! It is a favorite of ours. Great to have you following. I'll have 1-2 #SS posts a month (hopefully).

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  2. Love orecchiette (little ears) pasta with sausage. It is a dish I order frequently in Italian restaurants. Now I have a recipe to make it at home. Thanks for sharing this for the Heritage #SundaySupper

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    1. Nice! This is restaurant quality. ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I love it that #SundaySupper is introducing me to new blogs!

    This is a great recipe!

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    1. Welcome! And thank you. Hope you enjoy.

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  4. I love the recipe, but I love MORE that you shared with us your Director & Peanut's comments.
    My peanut (now all grown up & out on her own) also said 'picey' & we still say it today!
    Her pasta of choice was Penne she called them 'finger noodles' because she would stick her fingers thru the noodle and eat them off her fingers!
    thanks for sharing!

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    1. As I've delved into the world of recipe posts, I've tried to keep the humorous/family tone of DKL in them. So I appreciate that comment so much. And Peanut also likes bow ties... because they're hilarious. (Obviously.)

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  5. Yum...this looks so good that even my broccoli-despising hubby would eat it. He adores pasta and sausage. Glad to be in #SundaySupper with you!

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    1. Maybe substitute peas? This makes the broccoli less offensive than even the strongest broccoli hater might think. But we're a broccoli-loving family so no problem there.

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  6. Yummy! I'm always looking for new pasta dishes I never thought of adding sausage to it! I'll surly let my peanut try this one! #SundaySupper is the best!

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  7. Hahah I love that you call your wife a "WASP"...Joey calls me a JAP and I call him a WOP...its love!

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    1. It's amazing when My Director says "ricotta" or "mozzarella" the 'right' way.. she's come so far. ;-)

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  8. Great way to eat your broccoli!

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  9. Mmmmmm...this looks SO GOOD!!! Thank you so much for sharing it for SundaySupper!

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  10. Welcome to #SundaySupper ! I love simple pasta dinners like this, not to mention broccoli is my favorite.

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  11. I can't say I've seen orecchiette pasta in the stores I shop in, but I love the idea of the ingredients in this dish settling into the hat part of the pasta! Sounds simple and yummy!

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    1. here I go again... but an Italian butcher would have it. Or an Italian specialty foods store, if there is one in your area. If not, cavatelli could work. And pasta with 'crevices,' actually.

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  12. That sounds amazing. I have no idea what orecchiette pasta is, but I'm going to find some and give this a try. :)

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    1. Peanut's right... they look like hats. Good luck and enjoy!

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  13. I am so glad you shared this awesome recipe this week during #SundaySupper. I love your recipes and love all the Peanut stories. You are an awesome Dad!

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    1. I love sharing the recipes my family loves. Thanks for inviting me to the table, Isabel. #SundaySupper is a lot of fun.

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  14. Hmm, never thought broccoli & sausage would make a good combo, but this looks and sounds delish ! Will make it after I make the meatloaf :) Still procrastinating on that one ! Happy sharing more meals Justin!

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    1. Never doubt me when it comes to cooking...hahaha. The only time I've ever cooked anything My Director didn't like, I tried putting red wine in mashed potatoes. Didn't work. But these recipes are proven winners. Go make 'em and enjoy!

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  15. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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