Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage
A classic Italian combination of pasta with broccoli and spicy sausages. Note that the sausage quantities are small - it is used as flavouring for the bulk of the pasta and crunch of the broccoli.
500g broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
150g Italian sausages with the casing removed and roughly chopped
1 red pepper, cut into 1 cm squares (optional)
4 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press or finely minced
50g grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for the table)
Salt and fresh black pepper
Begin to cook the sausage and peppers (if using) in a large frying pan breaking the sausages meat into small pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes until it begins to brown
Bring water (around 1 litre for every 100g of raw pasta) to a rolling boil in a large pan. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, stir to separate, cover and bring the water to back to the boil - cooking time should be around 10 minutes but begin checking after 7 or 8 minutes
Meanwhile add the garlic, salt and black pepper to the sausages. Cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes
Add the broccoli and 100 ml of hot water from the pasta to the sausage mix. Cover and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the broccoli begins to turn bright green. Uncover and cook until the water has evaporated and broccoli is tender (around 5 minutes)
By now the pasta should be cooked or nearly ready, check that the pasta is cooked (fish a piece out and try it - it should be al dente), drain and return the cooked pasta to the pan
Add the broccoli mixture and cheese, mix to combine
Serve immediately with more cheese to sprinkle at the table
A spicy Italian sausage - either made with chilli & garlic or flavoured with fennel seeds. Failing that any 100% meat sausages will work well.