overhead view of pasta with Italian sausage & broccoli in white bowl

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Why I love this Italian sausage pasta recipe

This morning I found this article (via Joy the Baker) from Thought Catalog called I’m Sick of Summer. It completely sums up how I feel about summer, especially since we’re in the middle of a heatwave right now.

Except, I don’t have to deal with the monotony of year-round job and I do have the excitement of a new hockey season each fall to remind me that something new is coming. But really, this is the reason I look forward to fall every year.

This recipe is totally unrelated to being sick of summer. I have no interesting story to tell you about pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli, other than saying that I love this meal.

I used to make it all the time, but somehow I forgot all about it. It’s been forever, but it’s just as delicious as I remember it.

overhead view of pasta with Italian sausage & broccoli in a white bowl

Here’s what you’ll need to make it

close up of italian sausage pasta with broccoli

How to make pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli

My trick for adding fresh broccoli to any pasta dish – instead of cooking the broccoli separately, add it to the pot about 4-5 minutes before the pasta is supposed to be done (check the package instructions). Strain the pasta and the broccoli together, and you’ll have less dishes to do.

Side note: Since I’m living in wonderful France, I haven’t been able to find any real Italian sausages so I’ve been buying Toulouse sausages and adding my own seasonings to make them taste like Italian ones.

I used spices from this recipe for Italian Sausage Seasoning Blend and just put in a pinch of this and a little of that until it looked seasoned enough – I also added a bit of dried basil. Luckily, if you can buy Italian sausage (spicy or sweet) at your grocery store then you can ignore everything you just read.

overhead view of italian sausage pasta with broccoli in a white bowl

Tips for making this pasta with Italian sausage

How long should I cook sausage?

  • When cooking the sausage, I like to keep it cooking until it’s really golden brown and almost caramelized. This creates a ton of extra flavor.
  • What is a dairy free substitute for grated cheese pecorino or parmesan cheese?

  • I used to make this recipe using pecorino cheese, but since that’s not an option anymore, I add two tablespoons nutritional yeast with the reserved pasta water to add additional umami. See more about how I make substitutions for dairy products here.
  • What should I add pasta water to my pasta?

  • Pasta water is key here. You need the starches from the water to create a sauce. Be sure to reserve at least 1 cup. You may not end up using it all but it’s better to be safe.
  • overhead view of italian sausage pasta with broccoli

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    Italian Sausage Pasta with Broccoli

    This easy recipe for pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli is flavorful and dairy-free. It’s ready in 30 minutes which makes it great for weeknight dinners! Try it with bow tie pasta or penne.

    • Author: Melissa Belanger
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 25 minutes
    • Total Time: 35 minutes
    • Yield: 6 servings 1x
    • Category: Mains
    • Method: Stovetop
    • Cuisine: Italian

    Ingredients

    Scale
    • 1 pound Italian sausage meat, casings removed, if needed
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 1 pound package farfalle pasta
    • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

    Instructions

    1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the farfalle according to package directions, adding the broccoli to the pot 4 minutes before straining.
    2. Heat a large, nonstick skillet to medium-high. Add the sausage meat and brown, breaking it into small pieces. Continue cooking, stirring as needed until the sausage is golden brown and caramelized.
    3. Add olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat and continue cooking until the pasta is ready.
    4. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before straining the pasta and broccoli.
    5. Add broccoli and farfalle to the skillet – adding 1/4 cup of pasta water at a time until the sauce has reached the right consistency. Stir in the nutritional yeast before serving.

    Keywords: easy, dairy free, 5 ingredient

    Recipe inspired by Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes.

    Last Updated on November 23, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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    Recipe rating

    34 Comments

      1. The yeast just adds a savory, cheesy flavor to the recipe, but you can totally skip it if you don’t already have it!

    1. Made this last night for my family. (Got 2 kids aged 4 and 1). Overall it went over very well!
      I wish the sauce was a bit, saucier. Seemed like the flavour was really in the sausage, but didn’t transfer to the pasta. Maybe I did something wrong?
      *Note: I don’t have nutritional yeast, we just topped ours with some fresh Parm.

      1. This was so good! First time using nutritional yeast and I really liked the texture it added. My family of 5 (including two 12 year olds and a 16 year old) all loved it! I did add a little extra olive oil, but will definitely make again.

      1. I’m so sorry. That was a typo. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! It’s fixed now.

    2. I really liked this simple recipe but I need tweak it some. I added more garlic and a couple more T. Of olive oil. I also used only 3/4 lb pasta because as I was mixing everything together it appeared like the pound was too much. I did use all the pasta water that was recommended. I also added ore cheese as I tossed the pasta.

    3. Very good! Loved the Nutritional Yeast in it. Just right. I did use the whole cup of water.
      Will definitely make this again!

      1. Nutritional yeast is NOT the same as bread making yeast. It is a substitute for a cheesy flavor if you are cooking dairy free. I am not a big fan of it so I added it to the “sauce” instead of on top. It really helped the flavor. You can always switch it out and use other dry cheeses such as parm for recipes that call for it (that are savory!).

    4. As another person said, it seemed like the sausage and the pasta didn’t flow together. I think it was the lack of sauce. Not bad but I probably won’t make it again.

    5. Made this tonight but gluten free. Used GF rotini, and substituted spinach and tomato for broccoli. Excellent change up to our Wednesday dinner. Thanks.

    6. This was so good! I’ve been trying to use less oil, so I subbed 3 tablespoons of aquafaba, and it came out perfectly. I also added in about half a jar of roasted red peppers I had lying around. I’ll definitely be adding this to my rotation.

    7. Loved this as it was very easy. Next time, I will add the broccoli with only 2 minutes to go in the cooking process as I found the broccoli to be overcooked. I also added twice as much red pepper flakes to spice things up.

    8. Hi I am going to be making this recipe with the next few days and I was wondering how much of the pecorino cheese I would need thank you

    9. We loved this dish! I made this as written only adding three TBS of butter at the end of cooking to add a little richness. My hubby raved about this! I will definitely be adding this to my rotation!