I dream about the first recipe I’m going to make when I get back in my kitchen. Is that just so bizarre? I really do think long and hard about what it’s going to be, flipping through magazines and food blogs and my Instagram feed. It has to be the perfect recipe. Not too quick, not too slow. Preferably I get to chop, sauté, sear, toss. All good things my friends. They make me feel whole.
After almost an entire week away in Florida eating mostly fresh caught fish I felt it was time for something heartier. Pasta. Sausage. Cheeses. Oh my heavens yes. I had been eyeing this recipe for awhile and knew it was the perfect dish to toss together for a lazy family night in pre Easter Sunday.
Of course it helped that Chicago was still basically winter so a deep bowl of this with a fire and a red glass of wine sort of just felt perfect. Who needs sunshine and eighty degrees?
ME! I do. I really really do. But until then this orecchiette with sausage & veggies really helped. Bonus that you swirl in huge hunks of melty mozzarella and a little pesto for brightness. Make it this week for a warm up, should you need one.
And don’t forget the red wine.
ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE, BROCCOLI, & TOMATOES
Recipe adapted from The Humble Onion
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
14 oz package sweet Italian sausage, you can use turkey or chicken too (I used chicken)
red pepper flakes
4 cups broccoli florets
12 oz orecchiette pasta (other shapes work!)
1 package cherry tomatoes
1 package of small mozzarella balls (also called ciliegine – just cube fresh mozzarella if you can’t find them)
1 cup reserved pasta water (put your measuring cup right by the pasta pot so you don’t forget (as I often do:))
Few TBS pesto, homemade or store bought works
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
Serve with more grated cheese
Put a large pot of water for pasta on to boil with salt.
Heat oil in a large saute pan, then add onions, cooking until softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add sausage slices and brown up. Stir in some red pepper flakes.
Meanwhile, add broccoli to boiling water and set timer for 3 minutes. Fill bowl with cold water and ice cubes for an ice bath to stop cooking. Remove broccoli with slotted spot and immediately place in the ice bath. Drain after 1-2 minutes.
When broccoli is removed add orecchiette pasta to the same boiling water and cook according to package directions.
Add cherry tomatoes to sausage pan, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Then add broccoli and mozzarella cheese. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add pasta, reserved water, and a few TBS pesto to help melt cheese and make a sauce to the same pan. Add in a palmful of grated parm.
Serve with more parm on top!