Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe

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This Orecchiette Pasta recipe is loaded with crisp broccoli and savory Italian sausage, all with a naughty dash of spice. Get your apron on and bring Italy right into your kitchen.

Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe featured

A few years back, I was strolling through a cute Italian street while on vacation in Rome, when out of nowhere, my nose starts going wild from the delicious smell of fresh pasta! I count that as the moment when Italy’s fabulous pasta charmed me head over heels and I totally feel in love!

Now, what I have for you lovely ladies today will have you wishing you could jump right through these pages – our scrumptious Orecchiette Pasta. Little ear-shaped Orecchiettes, because that is what the Italians call it (adorable, right?), are just the pasta you want to bring your dish to the next level. Hailing from sunny Puglia down south, these little beauties know just how to soak up all the flavors from your sauce.

Our little journey today revolves around a feisty Italian sausage, tender nuggets of broccoli, and an amazing sauce jazzed up with chili flakes, which will totally give you that kick of spice! It’s super easy to prepare and features everyday pantry staples, easy and hassle-free. Trust me, girl, this one’s for you! I’m willing to bet this dish will be as popular as my Boursin cheese pasta.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • This pasta recipe manages the perfect harmony of flavors and textures. It’s got crisp but tender broccoli and savory sausage in the mix. Delicious!
  • The sausage-and-broccoli combo also brings you the ultimate comfort food situation, making it totally binge-worthy for all you pasta fans out there.
  • Orecchiette, because of its shape, is the perfect vessel for retaining all the sauce and those yummy bits of sausage
  • Italian sausage has a distinct and delicious flavor, including fennel, its signature herb

Ingredients

Italian sausage generally comes in two varieties: sweet and spicy. I’ll leave it to you to choose which one you prefer.

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 4 oz. orecchiette pasta
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves
Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe ingredients

How to Make Orecchiette Pasta – The Steps

Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orecchiette pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe step

Step 2: Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat on MEDIUM. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the hot pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sausage is browned. Break the sausage while it’s cooking. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until aromatic. 

Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe step

Step 3: Add the broccoli florets to the sausage and season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Add the chicken stock and cook for 2 minutes.

Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe step

Step 4: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss everything together until coated with the sauce. Add a drizzle of olive oil and plate. Enjoy!

Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe step

Tips and Tricks

  • Aim for al dente pasta, always! Al dente pasta makes the dish easy to eat when you mix in your broccoli and sausage chunks.
  • While making the sausage, a golden brown tint is what you’re after, which captures the amazing Italian flavor.
  • When everything’s all cooked and ready, gather them in the skillet. Toss around gently, coating every bit of the pasta with the other ingredients.

Variations

  • Pesto Sauce: Add a homemade or store-bought pesto sauce to your pasta. The flavors of basil, garlic, and pine nuts go great with this pasta dish.
  • Parmesan: Toss some grated Parmesan in your pasta for a creamy twist.
  • Fresh Herbs: Add some additional fresh herbs like parsley or oregano to get an amazing fresh flavor.
  • Vegetarian: Replace the Italian sausage with 4 oz. of diced bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. Replace the chicken stock with vegetable.
  • Vegan: Switch our the sausage with seasoned tofu or tempeh. As for the pasta, check the ingredients to ensure it’s egg-free.
  • Seafood Pasta: Take out the Italian sausage and use 4 oz. of shrimp, clams, or calamari in its place. Use seafood stock instead of chicken stock.
  • Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta: Add 4 oz. of chopped sun-dried tomatoes and 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese to the pasta before you plate it.
Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe featured

FAQs

Can I make this pasta healthier?

Opt for whole wheat or whole grain pasta, and consider increasing the amount of broccoli and lowering the amount of sausage.

How can I adjust the spiciness of the recipe?

You can adjust the chili as you prefer. You even add a dash of your favorite hot sauce if you’re a heat freak.

Can other types of pasta be used instead of orecchiette?

I recommend orecchiette pasta because it holds the sauce and sausage well, but if you can’t find any, you can use pasta with ridges or grooves (e.g., fusilli, farfalle, or penne) to retain the sauce.

Can I use frozen broccoli florets instead of fresh ones?

Sure. Just be sure you thaw them first to remove any excess water. Also, you’ll probably need to adjust the cooking time as frozen broccoli tends to cook a bit faster than fresh florets.

Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe featured

Serving Suggestions

Simple Challah Bread: What sauce the orecchiette pasta doesn’t scoop up can be absorbed with this delicious and moist challah bread, slightly sweet and no kneading required.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad: Side salads are an obvious choice. I went with this Cucumber and Tomato Salad because it’s simple and doesn’t step on the toes (or ears, if you will) of the main dish.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup: There’s nothing like a hot soup to pair with your pasta! This is a straightforward recipe that carries over the broccoli from the pasta for some continuity in your meal.

How to Store Orecchiette Pasta

Fridge: Let your pasta cool at room temperature for around an hour. You can then store it in the fridge for about 3 days.

Freezer: If you want to freeze it, you’ll need to separate your pasta, sausage, and broccoli. Pack each ingredient in separate containers or freezer bags. They’ll last about 2 months in the freezer.

Reheating: If you’re digging out your pasta from the freezer, let it defrost in your fridge overnight. In a large skillet, reheat your sausage and broccoli on MEDIUM. Then bring in your pasta and some chicken broth or water and gently toss around so everything heats evenly. You can also warm everything up in the microwave on medium for 3 minutes if you’re pressed for time.

Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe featured

Delicious Orecchiette Pasta Recipe

Baked Bree
This Orecchiette Pasta recipe is loaded with crisp broccoli and savory Italian sausage, all with a naughty dash of spice. Get your apron on and bring Italy right into your kitchen.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 4 oz orecchiette pasta
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Italian sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orecchiette pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat on MEDIUM. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the hot pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sausage is browned. Break the sausage while it’s cooking. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until aromatic. 
  • Add the broccoli florets to the sausage and season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Add the chicken stock and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss everything together until coated with the sauce. Add a drizzle of olive oil and transfer onto plates. Enjoy!
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