Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

Delicious weeknight dinner with Italian Sausage simmered in flavorful tomato sauce with broccoli and orecchiette pasta. This recipe easily fits any schedule (can make sauce up-to a week in advance).

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

My family loves a comforting and delicious pasta for dinner. What I love is a balanced meal with serving of protein and veggies. Today's recipe brings both to the dinner. A delicious weeknight dinner of flavorful sweet and spicy Italian Sausage Ragu with broccoli (steamed right into the sauce) and Orecchiette pasta. 

This pasta is an easy dinner that needs only 15 minutes of prep. Recipe also fits any schedule. Make Sausage Ragu on the weekend, add broccoli and cook pasta before serving for a super quick winter weeknight dinner. Also freezes well. (read on to know more)

Coming soon a short 1 minute video.

Italian Sausage with Broccoli and Pasta

Orecchiette with sausage with broccoli is such a classic flavor combination. I'm certain you have had combo of these ingredients in someway before? 

Italian Sausage is very flavorful spiced sausage. Few of my favorite herbs and spices such as fennel seeds, marjoram, parsley, and paprika, flavor this sausage. When sausage sautés in the skillet, the aroma of spices open up and fill the kitchen. A perfect sign that something delicious is cooking! 

Today's recipe is special as I made a sweet and spicy Italian Sausage Ragu sauce that is fortified with tomatoes, onion, garlic, sugar, anchovy paste and seasonings. These easy-to-find pantry ingredients add great depth of flavor to the sausage sauce. The addition of calcium-rich broccoli and Orecchiette pasta make it a complete. You will love the flavors!

Let's get cooking!

Sausage Ragu with Broccoli Pasta

What Do You Need To Make Sausage Broccoli Pasta

There are three main parts to this pasta recipe:

  1. Italian Sausage Ragu Pasta Sauce
  2. Broccoli
  3. Orecchiette Pasta

Italian Sausage Ragu (Pasta Sauce)

Italian Sausage Ragu is the heart of this pasta dish. For this recipe, I often use hot bulk Italian Sausage (chicken or pork).  Since Sausage is the star ingredient, I prefer to use best quality local-made organic sausage.

While I cooked for the recipe photos, I used Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage. Even though pork sausage or chicken both work great for this recipe. Chicken sausage is 1/3rd of the calories of pork sausage. All I'm saying is choose as per your diet needs. Whenever possible, go for a good quality sausage as that makes a lot difference in the flavor of ragu, and overall pasta.

Here's what you need to make the Sausage Ragu:

Sausage Ragu Ingredients for Sausage Broccoli Pasta

  1. Italian Sausage
  2. Anchovy Paste
  3. Olive oil
  4. Onion
  5. Garlic
  6. Red Wine
  7. Tomato paste
  8. Marinara - Tomato Sauce
  9. Seasonings - salt, sugar, chili flakes and oregano.

I always make sure to slice and dice ingredients before staring to cook. These 10 minutes of prep save lot of trips to pantry and refrigerator. Plus it is a good way to know if you have all ingredients you need for the recipe. Once you have the ingredients ready, meal comes together quickly. 


Broccoli or broccolini, both work well in this pasta. I break broccoli caps into small florets and cook (steam) with sausage sauce. The resulting broccoli is crisp-tender and perfectly seasoned. You can also use frozen broccoli for this recipe. Frozen broccoli will cook little faster. So add it to pasta sauce in last 2 minutes. Or boil it with pasta once pasta is cooked and ready to be drained (last 1 minute).

Orecchiette Pasta:

Orecchiette are small round pasta with little groove in the middle. These little grooves hold the pasta sauce very well, making every bite seasoned and flavorful. 

You can use fresh or dried orecchiette pasta for this recipe. If using frozen pasta (which cooks in 3-5 minutes), start cooking pasta while the sauce is simmering. Or cook pasta directly in the sauce. I recommend adding 1 cup extra liquid such as chicken stock in Step-5, add fresh pasta in last 5 minutes.

Here's how I make Sausage Pasta Sauce (Sausage Ragu); and then assemble Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli;

Hot To Make Sausage Broccoli Pasta

I start with boiling the pasta as per package directions. While pasta cooks, sauté sausage in oil, mashing it as it cooks. Sauté aromatics - onions until are soft, and garlic, tomato paste until paste darkens in color. Deglaze with wine. This is very important step. Let the wine liquid (alcohol) evaporate. This will give perfect wine flavor without any alcohol. 

Next I simmer sauce with marinara. For marinara, I recommend using your favorite tomato-basil sauce. I always have few jars of Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce. That's what I used for this recipe.

If you want to use tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, do two things:

  1. Use canned crushed or pureed tomatoes; these melt quickly in the sauce.
  2. Add /14 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp dried basil while simmering. Taste and adjust seasonings once ragu is ready.

I added broccoli to the sauce in last 3 minutes of cooking. This way broccoli picks up flavor from sauce and is crisp tender. That's it. Add cooked and drained orecchiette pasta to the sausage and broccoli wit grated parmesan cheese. Coat pasta in the sauce. 

Sausage Broccoli and Pasta

Serve hot or bring to room temperature and freeze!

Make Ahead:

This pasta is easy to make ahead. 

To make ahead:

  1. Cook Sausage Ragu.
  2. Bring to room temperature. 
  3. Add in sealable container. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. On day of serving, cook pasta.
  5. Heat sauce in a skillet until heated through. (3-4 minutes) Add broccoli florets on the top of sauce while reheating. Or cook broccoli with the pasta.
  6. Assemble cooked pasta with sausage broccoli.
  7. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.

NOTE: You can make Sausage Ragu Sauce up-to a week in advance.

To freeze:

  1. Cook Sausage Ragu and Pasta.
  2. Bring to room temperature. 
  3. Portion and freeze.
  4. On the day of serving, thaw and then reheat in microwave. Add fresh broccoli florets while repeating.

Sausage and Broccoli Pasta - Make Ahead and Freeze Well

This Sausage and Broccoli Pasta is perfect for cozy chilly night dinner. Plus leftovers are great to pack for lunch.

Friends, try something different for dinner this week. Bring home good quality Italian Sausage, your favorite Tomato Basil Sauce and Orecchiette pasta. I bet you will find rest of the ingredients in your pantry. Make pasta dinner night comforting and delicious with a touch of healthy. A serving of protein, a serving of broccoli with everyone's favorite - pasta. 

Coming soon a short 1 minute video. (check back again)

Happy Cooking! -Savita x

Pair Pasta with

Emerald Kale Broccoli Salad Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad Apple Kale Salad

Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

5 (6 reviews)
Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli
Total Time: Prep Time: Cook Time: Cuisine: Italian () Difficulty: Easy
Yields: 6 Servings - Serves: 6
Nutrition: 448 calories per serving



  • 1. Cook Orecchiette Pasta Bring pot of water to rolling boil. Season with salt. Cook Orecchiette pasta according to package directions. Additional Notes: If using fresh pasta, wait to cook until sauce simmers (Step -5)
  • 2. Brown Sausage Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Remove sausage from casing. Add sausage to the skillet with oil. Cook breaking and stirring often until sausage browns (about 5 minutes). Discard casing. Additional Notes: You can also crush meat using potato masher.
  • 3. Sauté Onion Add onions into the browned sausage. Cook stirring few times until onions are soft (3-4 minutes). Now add tomato paste, garlic and cook for additional 2 minutes or until tomatoes paste darkens and garlic is fragrant. Stir often to prevent paste sticking to bottom on pan.
  • 4. Deglaze Deglaze cooked sausage and onion mixture with red wine. Continue cooking until most liquid of wine evaporates (2-3 minutes)
  • 5. Simmer Sausage Ragu and Cook Broccoli Add canned tomatoes, anchovy paste, sugar, oregano with 1/4 tsp of salt. Mix. Cover and simmer sauce for 10-12 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1/2. Stir 1-2 times to prevent sauce from catching at the bottom. Before last three minutes, add broccoli florets to sauce, sprinkle pinch of salt on the top. Cover and continue cooking for the remaining 3 minutes.
  • 6. Assemble and Serve Taste and adjust salt in sauce. Add cooked and drained pasta into the sauce and broccoli. Coat pasta in the sauce. Coop into serving bowl. Serve and enjoy. Top with grated parmesan before serving (optional).
Savita's Notes:
  1. I used Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage for this recipe. Calories are based on Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage. You can use pork sausage or chicken sausage for this recipe. Pork Sausage will add additional calories.
  2. I used Rao's Tomato Basil Marinara sauce for this recipe. Calories are based on Rao's Tomato Basil Marinara sauce. You can use your favorite tomato-basil sauce for this recipe. 
  3. You can use fresh or dried orecchiette pasta for this recipe. If using frozen pasta (which cooks 3-4 minutes), start cooking pasta while the sauce is simmering. Or cook pasta directly in the sauce. I recommend add 1 cup extra liquid such as chicken stock in Step-5, add fresh pasta last 5 minutes.
  4. If using frozen broccoli florets, add it to pasta sauce in only last 2 minutes. Or boil it with pasta once pasta is cooked and ready to be drained (last 1 minute).
  5. Check step by step pictures of making sausage broccoli pasta in the description above recipe card.
  6. For extra flavor, drizzle tsp of extra virgin olive oil and grated parmesan cheese on each bowl.

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10 Responses

  1. This recipe looks so good! Wonderful flavor combinations!
  2. This turned out great. The whole family loved it!
    Thanks for letting me know. I'm glad you enjoyed.
  3. I love love love this recipe. The cooking process is fun with the anchovies, wine and onions, all so authentic. Love the healthy broccoli added too. Thank you and yum!
    Thanks for sweet feedback. I'm glad you like the recipe.
  4. I found the recipe very easy to make, and it was delicious. My kind of pasta recipe, I used some extra broccoli, to add extra fiber.
  5. Sausage and broccoli are total comfort food and this looks amazing. I can't wait to try it.
    It sure is! I hope you get chance to try it soon.
  6. What a delicious meal on any given weekday easy and perfect!