Nate has told me before that the dinner he always looked forward to his mom making when he was growing up was pasta with sausage and tomato sauce, with broccoli and garlic bread. So when his 30th birthday was fast approaching, I knew this is the meal I would make for him.
However, when we were down at the shore visiting my parents the weekend before his bday, my mom made a delicious red sauce, and being that Nate’s bday was only a couple days later, I asked him for his next choice.
He told me his second favorite pasta sauce is a light garlic sauce. I immediately thought of a sausage and broccoli rabe combo…but Nate insisted on broccoli. And I’m not one to argue with the Birthday Boy.
*As some readers have pointed out, this sauce wasn’t actually a garlic sauce, but when I set out to make the recipe I thought it was. The sausage and chicken broth impart a seasoned/salty flavor that tastes a lot like a light garlic sauce but without all the oil. And if you really wanted, you’re more than welcome to add garlic!
I knew I wouldn’t have much time to cook when I got home from work, so I did all my market shopping the day before. It’s not like me to do this, but I bought some premade garlic bread…you know the one that comes in foil that you put right in the oven? It made my life a whole lot easier. This really came together super quickly and is perfect for dinner on a birthday, or any day of the year!
Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli
Adapted from Gourmet (3/06)
Makes 4-6 servings
1 lb italian turkey or pork sausage, casings discarded and sausage crumbled
1/2 lb broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
3/4 lb dried pasta (whatever shape you desire)
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving
Spray a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water. When pasta is al-dente, remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add broccoli to the pasta water and blanch, 1 min. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain broccoli in a colander.
Add broccoli to sausage in skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 1-2 min. Add broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to skillet, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water if desired.
Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side.