Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta

Because we try to make meat an accent to our meals rather than the centerpiece, I find that end using a lot of ground meats mixed with whole grains, vegetables and sometimes pulses or beans. (For examples see Teriyaki Ground Turkey with Vegetables or Lentil Barley Soup with Italian Sausage, which I most often make with ground beef these days, or Shepherd's Pie). This recipe is no exception.

My inspiration was a recipe on I loved the idea of a one-pot meal I could make in my Instant Pot. However, because I always use whole wheat pasta, I have never been completely thrilled with the flavor, though my kids were immediate fans. Cooking the whole wheat pasta with all the other ingredients gave it a slightly dusty quality I wasn't fond of. However, given my experience making kale pasta every Saturday night I knew it would be pretty easy to convert this recipe away from the Instant Pot. I am definitely satisfied with the conversion. The dusty flavor is gone and the kids gobbled it up at least as fast as before with many sweet compliments. It's still quite simple to prepare so the switch from one pot to two is worth the extra dish. This will definitely go into our rotation of favorites.

1-2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 to 1 lb Italian sausage (chicken or pork, mild or spicy, whatever you like)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 large head broccoli cleaned and separated into floret; cut the stem into 1 inch pieces
3 small to medium carrots
2 c or 1 small can tomato sauce (or diced or crushed tomatoes--i just use homemade sauce)
1/2 lb whole wheat orzo pasta
Salt, pepper and smoke paprika to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the italian sausage when the pan is hot. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the sausage is lightly browned and has rendered any fat
  2. While the sausage is frying, prepare the other ingredients: mince the garlic finely, finely chop the broccoli and then the carrots. I do all of this in my food processor, one ingredient at a time. I chop it all finely enough that there aren't any big veggie chunks in the finished product, but use whatever size you find most appetizing, adjusting the cooking time if you have bigger pieces
  3. Start a pot of water to boil. I try to use a smaller ratio of water to pasta but do whatever works for you. If your stove is really slow and/or you like to use lots of water, set the pot to heat first thing
  4. Once the sausage is browned, lower the heat to medium and stir in the garlic. Let cook a minute or two, then add the broccoli and carrot and stir well
  5. Cover the skillet and let the vegetables steam for 4-5 minutes, or until soft
  6. Stir in the tomato sauce/canned tomatoes, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Partially cover, turn the heat to low (I did 3 on our 9 level stove), and let simmer while the pasta cooks
  7. Once your pot of water has come to a boil, add 1 tsp kosher salt if desired and cook pasta according to package directions
  8. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Stir well to mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust with salt, pepper and smoked paprika as desired. Serve as-is or with freshly-grated Parmesan