Most nights, we don’t cook elaborate meals. In fact, some nights, it’s all we can do to boil water and make pasta. You see, unlike a lot of food bloggers, this isn’t what we do to pay the bills. We blog because we love it, but we also work other jobs. So when we get home at 6:30 on a Wednesday and nothing’s been chopped, sliced, minced, or roasted, we default to easy, quick, and fresh meals with whatever happens to be in the fridge. Quick, easy, and largely unplanned doesn’t mean bland and tasteless though.
I first found this recipe on Serious Eats, but upon reading, they got the recipe from the Washington Post. When we adapted the Serious Eats recipe slightly, we actually adapted it almost exactly to the Washington Post version. But then looking at the Washington Post version, they adapted it from a magazine. Which just goes to show you that it’s darn hard to come up with an original recipe these days. Still, original or not, this made a great meal.
Pasta with Broccoli, Caramelized Garlic, and Sausage, from various sources
- 1 large head of broccoli (about 14 oz), sliced and broken down into florets
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- Pasta for 4 people (about 8 oz dried pasta)
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 8 sundried tomatoes (in oil)
- 1 Tbsp fresh Thyme
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Set aside a bowl of ice water large enough to hold the broccoli.
- Boil or steam the broccoli for 3-4 minutes, just long enough to soften very slightly and then transfer to the bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon, saving the hot water in the pot for the pasta.
- Cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Meanwhile, break the sausage into small chunks and cook in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Transfer to a plate with the slotted spoon, saving the grease in the skillet.
- Add the garlic to the skillet in a single layer and cook until it starts to brown around the edges (3-4 minutes depending on thickness).
- Mix the thyme, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, sausage, and lemon juice in with the garlic and cook until heated through.
- Mix the pasta in with the broccoli mixture and add half of the Parmesan cheese. Cook over medium-low heat, adding a bit of pasta water if the mixture looks a bit dry.
- Serve, topped with some more Parmesan cheese and a few cracks of sea salt and pepper.
Notes: This was a great dish. Of course, we started with the freshest of all broccoli, right from our garden. We also used some sweet Italian sausage links from Olsen farms. Olsen just started selling sausage a month or so ago and it is fantastic. Their sweet Italian links are long thin links, almost like breakfast sausages, so they are really perfect for this dish. Just slit the casings and peel off, then chop into half-inch pieces.
Since you cook the broccoli and the pasta in the same water, the pasta gets a little health boost from the broccoli water and you save time and energy since you don’t have to bring the water up to boiling twice. You could add pretty much anything to this dish as well. Cauliflower, carrots, onions… almost any vegetable you happen to have around.
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