Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Pesto

This recipe was inspired by a meal Cliff ordered in Sorrento. I think everybody should go to Italy just for the food alone. There is nothing that compares to it and every single meal inspired us enough to try and recreate it at home. When he ordered the pasta with broccoli I was imagining something more along the lines of the Linguine with Broccoli that we make all the time. But it was totally different! I had never heard of or thought about making broccoli pesto before, but it was so good!

Whenever we cook sausage we choose hot Italian sausage because that’s what we prefer. It adds an extra zing. But this pasta would be great with sweet Italian sausage also. We all loved it…even more than we imagined. Well, not Kara…she wouldn’t try because she doesn’t eat sausage. But my mom, Cliff and I all thought it was great! The orecchiette was perfect because it clung to the pesto. This elephant ear shaped pasta is great with a thick or chunky sauce. A tube pasta would work well too.  This one is a definite make again!

Here's what you'll need

Start by cooking the broccoli, when it's just softened drain and transfer to a food processor

Soften the garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then start browning the meat

Pulse together, broccoli, garlic, walnuts, parmesan cheese and mascarpone cheese

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you've reached the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Add the cooked pasta in with the cooked sausage

Stir in the broccoli pesto then thin out with some pasta water

It's a fun new way to try pesto!