I bought my tree over a week ago one night after work. And when I brought it home and set it properly in its stand, I wanted nothing more than to stay in and sit by my tree and enjoy that fresh pine smell.
It was freezing that night so I wanted something warm, a bit hearty and quick. I decided to make a healthier version of this sauceless pasta from Bon Appetit, and it was absolutely amazing. This recipe is so flexible. Add sausage and make it spicy if you want with spicy Italian sausage. Or, make it healthier with turkey sausage and hold the butter. You can also use broccoli rabe, florets or broccoli stalks. Each of them will work perfectly. And I used whole wheat pasta but use the real deal if you prefer.
This is the perfect addition to your holiday season! Enjoy!
Prep: 8 minutes | Total: 40 minutes
2 bundles broccoli florets, stems trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, smashed
12 ounces fresh Italian sausage (about 3 links), casings removed
Crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces whole wheat orecchiette
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1½ ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
Cook broccoli in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a colander and let cool (save pot of water for cooking pasta). Chop broccoli into small pieces; set aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic, shaking skillet occasionally, until it starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add sausage and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and break up meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up sausage, until it is browned and cooked through, 6–8 minutes.
Bring reserved pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until barely al dente, about 9 minutes.
Meanwhile, ladle about ½ cup pasta cooking liquid from pot into skillet with sausage and add blanched broccoli. Keep mixture at a low simmer, stirring often and mashing with spoon to break up sausage even more, until pasta is finished cooking.
Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer pasta to skillet, then ladle in ½ cup pasta water. Cook, stirring, until pasta absorbs most of the liquid and is just al dente, about 4 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted, then transfer pasta to a large bowl. Gradually add 1½ oz. Parmesan, tossing constantly until you have a glossy, emulsified sauce.
Serve pasta topped with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes and a drizzle of oil.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.