You know, this might be the first instance of meat use on this blog (scratch that – there was meat in the most recent meal while camping, though that wasn’t really a recipe). Looking back while eating the cold leftovers from the fridge I sort of think it is a shame that I used my two beautiful heads of broccoli in this dish. I mean it was fine, and I’d make it again, I’d even make it to share at a potluck; but I probably should have picked a recipe that cooked the broccoli less (or you know, not overcooked this in the first place; I blame needing to use a 12″ pan on a small burner, or maybe it was the fact that the first time I tried to add the water to the pan I hit the pan with my hand, pulled back and dumped the half-cup of water all over me and the floor instead of in the pan). Clearly this dish does not make it into my “best recipe” list, but unlike so many things that I cook from The New Best Recipe this did not make a mass of dishes and took just over half and hour.
Also I don’t get orecchietti, at least for me, this pasta shape is hard to find and always pricier than the rest; but it doesn’t seem much better than your standard shell, in fact shells might work better since they’d actually hold the little bits of sausage, broccoli and red pepper. And finally, I’m left wondering why I ever make any recipe that calls for a pound of pasta and am surprised when we have copious amounts of leftovers. This is one of those dishes that, in our house, seemed to make more food than it used up. And on Thursday, with the weekend looming and Tuesday/Share Pick Up day looming closer and closer using up produce is high on my priority list.
Orecchiette with Broccoli, Sausage and Red Peppers adapted from The New Best Recipe
note: I think my only real adaptation was using fresh red bell pepper instead of jarred, oh and I didn’t peel my broccoli stems; the cheese would have been changed too except I decided to mix things up last time I replenished my hard italian style cheese and got pecorino instead of a parmesan. I think this could be done one-pan style, if you used a bowl too, but then you’d have to wait for the pasta to cook before starting the sausage. I decided an extra pan was worth the times savings.
- 1 pound orecchiette
- 4 oz hot italian sausage
- 9 cloves garlic, minced or smooshed
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, in large dice (about 1/2″ pieces)
- 2 largish heads broccoli (about a pound total, but not much stem – I think it was the equivilant to a standard bunch), broken into small bite size florets, and the stalks trimmed into small 1/2″ or less pieces
- 1/2 c water
- 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 oz pecorino romano, grated (should be around 1 cup)
So you boil the pasta, drain it and set it aside. At this point I tossed it with that tablespoon of olive oil.
While the pasta is cooking you start a big pan (12″ – with lid) and cook the sausage, breaking it into little bite size pieces (that is only 4 ounces and you want to stretch it). Once it is done you add the garlic and saute until it is fragrant (I ended up adding a little bit extra oil right before I added the garlic, fearing it’d stick and burn otherwise). Don’t fret too much about the sausage that is sticking to the pan at this point. Add the red pepper and let it saute just a bit, oh throw in the salt and pepper now too. Finally add the broccoli and let it cook just a bit, (TNBR says bright green and 1-2 minutes) then add the half cup of water (I stirred a bit at this point and that took care of the stuck sausage bits) and cover the pan. Let everything cook for about 5 minutes until the broccoli is tender but still bright green – the water should be evaporated at this point. Once the broccoli is done you pour the broccoli-sausage-pepper mixture into the pasta, dump in the grated cheese and stir stir stir.