Pasta with Sausage and Broccolini is a crowd-pleasing dinner recipe. Not only is it filling, but it's also simple to make and covers your carb, protein and veggie servings all in one bowl!
Whenever I'm short on time or don't have a dinner plan, pasta is my go-to dish. Pasta is versatile, cooks up quickly and the add-ins are endless!
Whenever I make pasta, vegetables and protein are must-have. I just don't feel full and satisfied if all I've eaten is a bowl of pasta and sauce. I truly envy those who DO feel satisfied after a simple bowl of spaghetti.
Pasta with Sausage and Broccolini fills you up thanks to the crumbled chicken sausage and the fresh broccolini. The flavor of the dish is enhanced with garlic, ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese.
- Macaroni shells- Many pasta, sausage and broccolini recipes call for orecchiette pasta. I find that orecchiette is not readily available in most grocery stores. It certainly wasn't in the stores near me! I swapped the orecchiette noodles for medium-sized macaroni shells. They are a similar shape to orecchiette and made the perfect substitution!
- Mild Italian chicken sausage - I purchased a mild Italian sausage in casing and squeezed the sausage out of the casing. You can do what I did or purchase a pound of ground chicken sausage.
- Broccolini - Broccolini is similar to broccoli, but has smaller florets and a long thin stalk. Flavor wise, broccolini is a bit mellower and less bitter than broccoli. Broccolini is NOT broccoli rabe though and you should not substitute one for the other.
- Garlic - I used fresh, minced garlic.
- Parmesan cheese - I used a fresh, grated parmesan cheese. Shredded would work as well if that is all you have.
- Ricotta cheese - I chose part-skim ricotta cheese. Full fat would work fine too. I love the creamy texture ricotta cheese added to this dish. Not many other sausage and broccolini pasta dishes called for ricotta cheese. I loved the addition of ricotta!
- Extra virgin olive oil - The olive oil is only needed to sauté the chicken sausage. Since it's not a main, vital ingredient, you could swap the olive oil for butter, canola or sunflower seed oil if needed. My post on substitutes for ghee is an excellent resource on different types of cooking oil.
- Red pepper flakes - Crushed red pepper flakes are optional! If you like a little heat, then a small sprinkling of red pepper flakes on your finished dish will do the trick.
*See recipe card for specific quantities and detailed instructions.
- Large stock pot - This is needed to cook the pasta.
- Medium to large sauté pan with a lid - You'll use this to cook the chicken sausage, garlic and broccolini.
- Measuring cups and spoons
How to make
- Make the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta water and set aside.
- Cook the chicken sausage in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. At the end of cooking time, add the fresh minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the broccolini florets to the pan with the chicken sausage. Cover the pan and let the broccolini steam until tender, about 8 minutes.
- Remove the broccolini from the pan and set aside.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage from the sauté pan to the pasta. Add the ricotta cheese and the parmesan cheese to the pasta. Toss the pasta, sausage, and cheeses together until well combined.
- Serve the sausage pasta in individual serving bowls with 1-2 broccolini florets on top. Top with additional parmesan cheese and and a pinch of red pepper flakes... if you like the heat! Enjoy!
All recipe creators would prefer that you don't make substitutions to a recipe. However, we're human and know that often times, substitutions are necessary! Here's a few ingredient substitutions that you could make if needed.
- Sausage - You could replace the chicken sausage with pork sausage or turkey sausage. The pork sausage would have more fat, so you would want to drain the fat off at the end of cook time.
- Broccolini - If you cannot find broccolini, then fresh broccoli or frozen broccoli would work as well.
- Pasta - Instead of macaroni shells, you could use orecchiette, ziti, farfalle... really any kind of noodle that you prefer!
- Gluten free - If you need this recipe to be gluten free, use gluten free pasta and also make sure that any other packaged ingredients that you purchase are also gluten free. My favorite, tried and true gluten free pastas are the Bionaturae Gluten Free Pastas.
- Vegetarian - Swap the Italian chicken sausage for a vegan sausage. I've never tried any vegan crumbly sausages before but I have tried Field Roast Plant Based Sausage many times. I find them to be delicious! They would be a great meat-free substitute.
- Spicy - I have red pepper flakes as an optional ingredient. If you like the heat, then add some red pepper flakes! They definitely do the trick.
- Extra garlic - Personally, I LOVE garlic and usually add extra garlic when a recipe calls for it. I know not everyone loves garlic as much as I do though so I held back a bit with this recipe. If you find you want more garlic flavor, then I would add some garlic powder to the pasta when you are mixing the sausage and cheeses in.
Store the sausage broccolini pasta dish in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.
Reheat the Pasta with Sausage and Broccolini in the microwave for 1 minute at time. Stirring in between minutes and adding additional minutes until you have achieved your desired temperature. You may need to add more ricotta cheese during reheating to make the pasta creamy again.
Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Generously salt your pasta water while the pasta is cooking. No other salt is added to this recipe so you'll want some salty pasta water.
- To save time, purchase garlic that is already minced and in a jar. If you purchase pre-minced garlic, then this recipe requires zero chopping or dicing ahead of time!
- 16 ounces medium sized macaroni shells
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 16 ounces mild Italian chicken sausage
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 8 ounces fresh broccolini (about 12 stalks)
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Optional: red pepper flakes
- Cook the pasta shells in salted boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium-sized sauté pan. Add the Italian chicken sausage to the pan. If the sausage is in casings, simply squeeze the sausage out of the casing.
- Using a spatula, break up the sausage into small pieces while it is cooking. Cook until no pink remains, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic to the sausage and cook for an additional minute.
- Lay the broccolini on top of the cooked sausage, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid, and let the broccolini steam until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the broccolini and sausage from the heat. Remove the broccolini from the pan and set aside. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken sausage to the stock pot with the cooked pasta. Add the ricotta cheese and the parmesan cheese to the pasta and sausage.
- Mix the pasta, ricotta, parmesan and sausage together, until well combined.
- Transfer the pasta to serving bowls. Serve each bowl of pasta topped with the broccolini and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if desired).
- Only add the red pepper flakes if you like the extra heat!
- If your sausage is in casings, simply squeeze the sausage out of the casings and straight into the hot sauté pan.
- Reheat leftover pasta in the microwave for a minute at a time, until desired warmth is reached. You may need to add extra ricotta cheese when reheating to make the pasta creamy again.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: lunch, dinner
- Method: stove top cooking
- Cuisine: Italian American
Keywords: pasta with broccolini and sausage, broccoli sausage pasta, sausage pasta
- Cook poultry to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended