Ah, Italy—a culinary dreamland, right?
While we all can’t hop on a plane to Sorrento every time we crave authentic Italian fare, why not bring a slice of Italy into your kitchen? Forget about the conventional Linguine with Broccoli you’ve been whipping up; it’s time to elevate your pasta game.
Today, we are diving deep into the delectable world of Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Pesto. It’s a comforting, rich dish that carries all the flavors of Italy right on your fork!
Why You Will Love Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Pesto
Just when you thought pasta couldn’t get any better, here comes a recipe that turns your usual weeknight dinner into a restaurant-worthy feast. The combination of hot Italian sausage, the unique texture of orecchiette pasta, and the bold new take on pesto will have you and your family going back for seconds, or maybe even thirds!
- Sausage Choice: The type of sausage you choose can change the entire flavor profile. Opt for hot Italian sausage for an extra kick, or go with sweet Italian sausage for a milder dish.
- Pasta Water: Don’t forget to reserve some pasta water! It’s the secret to achieving that perfect sauce consistency.
- Sauce to Pasta Ratio: Make sure your pesto clings to every piece of pasta to maximize flavor in every bite.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A staple in Italian cuisine, extra virgin olive oil is the base for both sautéing your ingredients and blending into your pesto. Its rich flavor elevates the dish.
Hot Italian Sausage
Adding both protein and a spicy kick, hot Italian sausage is the powerhouse of this dish. Its zest blends well with the subtleness of broccoli pesto.
Known for its “little ear” shape, orecchiette is perfect for holding onto chunky sauces, making each bite a burst of flavor.
Not just a side veggie anymore! When transformed into a pesto, broccoli provides a nutritious and tasty alternative to the traditional basil-based version.
Walnuts and Mascarpone Cheese
These provide texture and creaminess to the broccoli pesto, giving it a rich and complex character.
How to Make Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Pesto
- Begin by cooking the broccoli until just softened. Drain it and place it in a food processor.
- In a large dutch oven, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil, then brown the sausage.
- Pulse the broccoli, garlic, walnuts, Parmesan, and mascarpone in the food processor.
- Drizzle in olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine the cooked pasta and sausage in the dutch oven.
- Stir in your homemade broccoli pesto, adjusting the thickness with reserved pasta water as needed.
For a complete Italian dining experience, serve with a side of garlic bread and a glass of white wine.
- Substitute pine nuts for walnuts for a different nutty flavor.
- Use spinach instead of broccoli for a greener pesto.
- Food Processor
- Large Dutch Oven
- Large Pot
- Wooden Spoon
How can I store leftover pesto?
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Absolutely, tube pasta like rigatoni works well with this kind of sauce.
It’s a fun new way to try pesto!
Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Pesto
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb hot Italian sausage casings removed
- 1 lb orecchiette pasta
- 1/2 onion finely diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- Optional: Red pepper flakes for extra heat
For the Broccoli Pesto:
- 4 cup broccoli coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Lemon zest for added brightness
- Start by preparing the Broccoli Pesto. Follow the original instructions but add optional lemon zest if desired.
- In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic. Add sausage and cook until brown.
- Boil orecchiette, reserve pasta water, and combine all ingredients in the dutch oven. Adjust sauce consistency with reserved pasta water.