Pasta with Broccoli, Sausage, and a Ricotta Surprise

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As those of you who have been following along with me for a while know, I’m a pasta lover (sorry gluten free friends).

This recipe is simple, has very little clean up afterwards and has a simple sauce with a rich, creamy center. For my gluten free friends, I think that brown rice would work in place of the pasta in this dish. If you want to spice this recipe up some, add in more red pepper flakes. To up the color in the dish & some of the flavor add in some tricolor peppers when you add in your broccoli. Remember, every recipe is a GUIDE, the fun part is discovering what works when you take some stuff out and add some stuff in.

Start the pasta water boiling in one pan. In a small bowl mix together the ricotta, fresh lemon zest & black pepper. I have fresh lemons 98% of the time and assumed that was the case when I went to make this recipe. I was wrong. So I went over to my overflowing spice cabinet and pulled down some lemon pepper to replace the lemon zest and black pepper and added in a dash of lemon juice to the ricotta. Set the ricotta mixture on the counter to let the flavors marinate.

By now the pasta water is prob boiling, so add in your pasta and start another pan over med-high heat with EVOO (extra virgin Olive Oil). Add the sausage & break it up into small pieces. While the sausage is browning, cut up the broccoli tops into small florets and chop an onion (and any other veggies you want to toss in there).

Once the sausage is browned remove to a paper towel lined plate to soak up extra grease. Using the same pan as you used for the sausage, add in the prepared broccoli & onion. Spread the veggies out in an even layer in the pan, season with salt & pepper and don’t toss it in the pan for 2 minutes. Cook an additional 2 minutes after tossing. The broccoli will turn bright green. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 2 more minutes.

Somewhere in here your pasta is going to be finished. BEFORE you drain it, reserve about ½ – ¾ C of the cooking liquid.

Add the sausage back to the pan along with the chicken stock. Add in your pasta water and bring up to a simmer. Cook until veggies are tender and liquids have slightly reduced. To the veggies and sausage add in lemon juice, parsley, pasta and then toss to combine. Let that all simmer for 1 minute to let the pasta take in the flavors. Turn off the heat, add grated cheese and toss to combine again.

To serve, put half of your desired amount of pasta in a bowl, add in a scoop of the ricotta mixture and then cover with the other half of the pasta. Serve it up with a mixed green salad.

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage with a Ricotta Surprise adapted from Rachel Ray
1 lb. penne pasta
1 C ricotta cheese
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T EVOO
1 lb bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 large head broccoli
1 medium onion
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 ½ C chicken stock
½ C grated cheese for serving

Start the pasta water boiling in one pan.
In a small bowl mix together the ricotta, fresh lemon zest & black pepper. Set the ricotta mixture on the counter to let the flavors marinate.
Add in your pasta to the boiling water and start another pan over med-high heat with EVOO. Add the sausage & break it up into small pieces.
While the sausage is browning, cut up the broccoli tops into small florets and chop an onion Once the sausage is browned remove to a paper towel lined plate to soak up extra grease.
Using the same pan as you used for the sausage, add in the prepared broccoli & onion. Spread the veggies out in an even layer in the pan, season with salt & pepper and don’t toss it in the pan for 2 minutes. Cook an additional 2 minutes after tossing. The broccoli will turn bright green. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 2 more minutes.
BEFORE you drain the pasta, reserve about ½ – ¾ C of the cooking liquid.
Add the sausage back to the pan along with the chicken stock. Add in your pasta water and bring up to a simmer. Cook until veggies are tender and liquids have slightly reduced. To the veggies and sausage add in lemon juice, parsley, pasta and then toss to combine. Let simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, add grated cheese and toss to combine again.
To serve, put half of your desired amount of pasta in a bowl, add in a scoop of the ricotta mixture and then cover with the other half of the pasta.

Jeni Townsend
Jeni's Kitchen began with the right food getting into the right people's mouths. I created the official company in November of 2014 and it has been growing ever since. I cater to both the professional & personal clientele needs. Contact me for your: Corporate Functions, Working Luncheons, Personal Meal Deliveries, Church Functions, Family Gatherings, Dinner Parties, Bridal & Baby Showers, Meals For New Parents, Holiday Parties & other Social Events. Personal Milestones (Graduations, Birthdays,Anniversaries, Retirement) & More!
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