May 1, 2024

Spicy Italian Sausage and Broccolini Pasta

Another day, another delicious and easy pasta dish.

Hearty and delicious, this spicy Italian sausage and broccolini pasta is an absolute crowd-pleaser for weeknight dinners. With meaty Italian sausage, earthy and tender broccolini, all combined in a super garlicky and spicy oil-based sauce, this is a recipe to save in the books. It’s one of those pasta dishes that will have you standing over the stove, eating straight out of the pot. With just a few simple ingredients and 35 minutes dinner is served.

up close of Italian sausage and broccolini pasta in a pan.

WHY YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS RECIPE

If you grew up eating sausage and broccoli pasta, this recipe takes that concept to new heights. We’ve elevated those familiar flavors by making a few tweaks. Instead of regular broccoli, we use broccolini, which is sweeter and earthier, making it not only tastier but also easier to cook. The addition of Calabrian peppers adds a vibrant kick to the classic garlic oil. And let’s not forget about the burrata… no words needed.

This Italian sausage and broccolini pasta isn’t just a super quick dish perfect for weeknight dinners; it’s also incredibly easy to make. While most of my pasta recipes are portioned for 2-3 servings, this one is designed for larger gatherings or families. However, if you’re cooking for a smaller group, you can easily scale down the ingredients or enjoy leftovers throughout the week.

If you’re in search of a flavor-packed, easy-to-make pasta dish that’s sure to please a crowd, then look no further. If you aren’t… well then you are in the wrong place.

2 bowls of  Italian sausage and broccolini pasta.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLINI PASTA

  • Italian Sausage – Despite what the title of this post suggests, you actually only need mild Italian sausage for this recipe, not spicy. The spiciness comes from another ingredient. If you have a great go-to meat counter, get 1 1/2 pounds of loose Italian sausage; this recipe makes a generous portion. If not, purchase pre-cased sausage and remove the casing yourself. Most of the time, cased sausage is sold in 1 lb packs, so use 1 1/2 lbs worth and save the rest for another recipe.
    • Substitute: Don’t eat pork? Feel free to swap it out for uncooked chicken sausage. I say uncooked to avoid confusion with the small pre-cooked vacuum-sealed chicken sausages
  • Broccolini – Not to be confused with broccoli or broccoli rabe, broccolini is actually a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It is easily identifiable by its long, woodsy stems with only a few florets, unlike broccoli. Broccolini should be easy to find in your local supermarket throughout Spring and Summer. Depending on how large the bunches are you may need to buy 2 or approx. 10-12 oz.

    If you can’t find broccolini, don’t worry! You can substitute it with broccoli rabe. While broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter flavor, it yields the same cooking time and preparation as broccolini. Truth be told, I love the slightly bitter flavor it imparts.
  • Pasta – Since this is an oil-based sauce, opt for a premium pasta if possible. Higher quality, slower-dried pasta tends to have a better texture, allowing for better sauce-to-pasta grip. I particularly enjoy using a larger, heftier pasta for this recipe, such as rigatoni
  • Crushed Calabrian Chilis – Surprise, surprise! Not only do the Calabrian chilis offer fantastic flavor, but they also allow you to easily adjust the heat levels according to your preference.
  • Garlic – Fresh only!
  • Olive Oil – Pick a good flavorful extra virgin olive oil.
  • Burrata – Absolutely optional, but if you’re looking to add a creamy component and a touch of coolness to round out the dish, burrata is a fantastic addition.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Also completely optional, but if you’re not opting for burrata, Parmesan is another excellent addition to enhance the flavor further.

Making this for the family? Have little kids? Feel free to leave out or reduce the Calabrian chilies. While the Calabrian chilies add a ton of flavor along with the expected heat, it’s absolutely easy to remove them if you’re cooking for little ones.

HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLINI PASTA

Prepare the Pasta – Cook the pasta as per packaging instructions and save about 1/3 cup of pasta water. You won’t need it all but I always suggest you save more water than you need. Even better freeze some pasta water for an easy reheating hack.

Cook the Sausage – If your sausage is still in its casing, remove the meat by cutting open the casing and sliding it off. Discard the casing. In a large pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add the sausage. Use the back of a spoon to break up the sausage with a twisting motion until you are left with smaller, bite-sized pieces. This process becomes easier as the sausage begins to brown.

Cook the sausage until it has browned and is cooked through, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and set it aside for later use.

Assemble the Sauce – Reduce the heat to low and add 3 out of the 6 tablespoons of olive oil. We add only a portion because the broccolini tends to absorb a lot, and we want to reserve some after it has cooked. Add in the crushed Calabrian chilis and garlic. Cook the garlic until it is soft and fragrant but not browned. If it begins to brown, reduce the heat further.

Add the Rest – Add the chopped broccolini and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to evenly cook the greens. Add the sausage along with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Drizzle in 2-3 tablespoons of pasta water and cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes, allowing the spicy oil to adhere to the pasta.

Finish – Complete the pasta with broken up burrata or a heavy hand of parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

2 bowls of  Italian sausage and broccolini pasta.

STORING/REHEATING

Store this Italian sausage and broccolini pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. When ready to reheat, place it back in a pan with a few tablespoons of either leftover pasta water (which you should always save) or chicken broth or water. Heat it on low with a lid on, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is warm throughout.

Wan’t more oil based pasta dishes? They re my favorite too! See below for a few more recipes to make.

Spicy Aglio e Olio
Crispy Lemon Artichoke Pasta
Spicy Caper Pasta

May 1, 2024

Italian Sausage and Broccolini Pasta

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With meaty Italian sausage, earthy and tender broccolini, all combined in a super garlicky and spicy oil-based sauce, this is a recipe to save.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Pasta, Weeknight Dinner
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage loose, or removed from casing
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra, separated
  • 2-3 tbsp crushed Calabrian chilis
  • 6 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 bunches broccolini 10-12 oz
  • burrata to finish

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta as per packaging instructions and save about 1/3 cup of pasta water.
  • In a large pan over medium heat add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot add the loose sausage.
  • Break up the sausage with the back of a large spoon until you are left with smaller pieces. Brown the sausage for approx. 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the sausage from the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add 3 out of the 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and Calabrian chilis. Cook for 1-2 minutes until soft and fragrant but not brown.
  • Add in the chopped broccollini and a heavy pinch of salt. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, mixing every so often to evenly cook the greens.
  • Add the sausage as well as the remaining 3 tables spoons of oil. Drizzle in 2-3 tbsp of pasta water and cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes, adhering the spicy oil to the pasta.
  • Complete the pasta with broken up burrata or a heavy hand of parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

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