This one-pot pasta with sausage and broccoli is the easiest dinner ever but it’s so delicious. It has tons of flavor from the sausage, plus a delicious garlic and oil sauce that I can never get enough of. It’s made with just five ingredients that cook together in one pot, but it tastes as good as a high quality restaurant meal.
This One Pot Pasta Is Going To Make Your Life So Much Easier
It’s no secret that I love one-pot meals — especially one-pot pasta recipes.
They’re easy to make, save you valuable time cleaning up, and reheat well. Plus they’re so tasty! (My husband loves this broccoli and sausage orecchiette so much that I have to hide the leftovers so he doesn’t eat them all before I get to them.)
This garlicky recipe is inspired by the pasta course that I recently ate at my grandfather’s birthday party at Piccolino’s in Staten Island. It was so good I couldn’t wait to recreate it at home.
Something about Italian food from Staten Island just hits different…but this recipe was a really great copycat and it’s now one of our favorite comfort meals.
You’ll definitely want to keep this one in your back pocket for those days when you need to get dinner on the table fast!
- 30-Minute Recipe. There’s nothing that annoys me more than having to wait ages for a huge pot of water to boil.
- 5 ingredient recipe. This recipe is made with basic ingredients. If you keep sausage and broccoli in the freezer, you’ll pretty much always be able to make it without any pre planning.
- Affordable. See above.
Ingredients for Orecchiette with Broccoli and Sausage
This recipe is made with just five super simple ingredients, but you’ll be impressed by how much flavor it has.
The sausage simmers along with the pasta, creating a sausage broth that infuses every bit of pasta with a ton of flavor. You’re going to love it!
To make this pasta, you’ll need:
- Olive Oil. Just a splash of olive oil to help the sausage brown.
- Sweet Italian Sausage. I like to use sweet Italian sausage for this recipe, because it has a more nuanced flavor that hot sausage does. Buy bulk sausage if you can find it. If not, you can remove sausage links from the casing easily if you cut the raw sausages in half lengthwise.
- Garlic. Garlic adds a lot of flavor to this recipe, so use something good. I usually use fresh garlic, but when I’m feeling lazy a squirt of Gourmet Gardens garlic paste is an excellent stand-in. I never use pre-chopped jarred garlic — it just doesn’t taste right!
- Red Pepper Flakes. For a subtle pop of heat. Don’t like it hot? You can leave it out.
- Orecchiette Pasta. I love how the bell shape of orecchiette pasta hugs that crumbled sausage. De Cecco is my preferred brand is is usually pretty easy to find. You can also make this using gluten free pasta.
- Frozen Baby Broccoli Florets. A bag of frozen broccoli florets is so much easier than messing with fresh broccoli! Baby broccoli florets are perfectly bite-size right from the package, so you don’t need to cut them any smaller.
If you want, you can top this pasta with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, but it’s just as good without it. It just depends on what you’re in the mood for!
How to Make It
Step 1: Brown the sausage. Browning the sausage in a little olive oil will enhance it’s flavor and texture and will keep it from getting mushy once you add the liquid.
Step 2: Seaon and Drain. Stir in the garlic and red peppers and cook them for a minute or two to toast them. Drain all but two tablespoons of grease from the pan (depending on how fatty your sausage is, you might not need to drain it at all! Go with your best judgement.)
Step 3: Cook the pasta. Add the pasta, water, and salt right to the pan with the sausage and cook it until almost al dente.
Step 4: Add the broccoli. Stir in the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender and the liquid is mostly absorbed.
Recipe Tips + Variations
- Swap the pasta. You can make this recipe with mini shells, cavatelli, elbows, or penne pasta. The best pastas are small and have either ridges or nooks and crannies to hold the sauce.
- Salt the water. I add a full teaspoon of flaky kosher salt to the water to ensure every bite of pasta is perfectly seasoned.
- Use chicken broth instead of water for even more flavor.
- Go traditional with broccoli rabe or broccolini instead of the frozen broccoli. You’ll need to add it a little sooner to ensure it fully cooks and softens, about 5 minutes before the pasta is done.
- If your pasta is too dry you can stir in a little more extra virgin olive oil at the end. By nature though, one-pot pasta is coated with velvety, starchy pasta water that’s a great stand-in for sauce.
- If your sauce is too thin, let it sit off the heat for a few minutes and it will thicken up.
- Add halved cherry or grape tomatoes a few minutes before the pasta is done cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I store leftovers?
Leftovers will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigarator for 3-4 days. Reheat them in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. If the sauce has thickened too much overnight, you can loosen it with a tablespoon of water.
What should I serve with this?
This one pan pasta with broccoli and sausage is a full meal on its own, but you can round it out with a salad or some garlic bread.
Can I use regular broccoli?
Yes. I like baby broccoli florets because they’re the perfect size to give you a nicely balanced bit of food. You can definitely make this with regular frozen broccoli florets though. If any are particularly large, you might want to cut them into smaller pieces.
What about fresh broccoli?
Yup, Just add it 5 minutes before the pasta is done to give it enough time to soften.
I don’t eat pork. How can I make this?
Feel free to swap in your favorite chicken sausage, turkey sausage, or sausage flavored veggie crumbles.
What is Orecchiette Pasta?
Orecchiette is a pasta shape from Apulia, in Southern Italy. It means “little ears” and if you look closely, you’ll see why. It really does resemble ears! The concave shape holds sauce really nicely, and it’s also great in brothy soups. If you can’t find it, miniature shells have a very similar shape.
Is this recipe authentic?
There is a traditional Italian pasta recipe that’s very similar to this one, with orecchiette, broccoli rabe, garlic and oil, and sometimes sausage. But I’m pretty sure my Italian ancestors would disown me if they saw me cook everything together in one pot. It’s 2022 though and I like to do things my own way!
More easy pasta recipes
- One Pot Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti
- 10-Minute Cacio e Pepe
- Easy Bruschetta Pasta
- Baked Feta Pasta
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- One Pot Chicken and Vegetable Pasta
- 30 Minute Red Curry and Peanut Noodles
One Pot Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounces sweet Italian sausage loose/bulk
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cups water
- 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
- 5 cups frozen baby broccoli florets
- Salt and Pepper
- Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional) for serving
- Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes then cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.
- Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- If necessary, drain all but 2 Tablespoons of grease from the pan, then return the pan to the burner.
- Stir in the pasta, water, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, uncovered, for 12 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with cheese, as desired.