Orecchiette with Sausage, Roasted Red Peppers and Brocolli

I wanted a flavorful meal that was also both easy and pleasing from a looks standpoint. I’ve been cooped up inside and wanted a visually attractive dish. I decided to dip into the old Il Fustino recipe books since we used lots of different recipes there that showcased our products and were easy for the novice home cooks that were our best customers.

I remember one helped sell our Orecchiette, “little ears” in Italian. A type of bowl shaped pasta designed to scoop up thick sauces and bits of meat. The recipe mixed it with broccoli florets and roasted red pepper for color and flavor, and mild Italian sausage, some strong olive oil, and Parmesan cheese for body. It’s classic Italian cooking, get good ingredients, and try not to screw them up.

1 package Orecchiette Pasta
1 Large Broccolli stem, cut for the florets.
3 Jarred Roasted Red Peppers, sliced
1 Lb Italian Sausage, loose
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
Olive Oil, strong
Black Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Note: This recipe is very versatile and you can modify the amount of ingredients to your taste easily. The above is how I like it and I tend to like a high ingredients/pasta ratio

Start by boiling your pasta in salted water. Nowadays the trend is to use less water to cook your pasta when you intend on using the pasta water in your recipe; it tends to concentrate the starch and results in a thicker, smoother sauce. When it’s near done, turn off the heat and pour it through a strainer reserving about half a cup of pasta water. Keep that on the side.

While the pasta is going, brown the sausage in a large square-sided rondeau pan. Render the fat and get the sausage nice and brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon keeping all the sausage fat. Add broccoli florets and sear them in the fat for a minute or two.

Add garlic and saute one minute. Then add the roasted red peppers and saute for just a little bit. Hold on low until the pasta is done.

When the pasta is done, add it and the reserved pasta water to the pan and let it steam uncovered until it’s reduced to a thick sauce, the broccoli is steamed al dente and the pasta is finished cooking. Add pepper, red pepper flakes. Serve with Parmesan


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