Since we are not allowed to go out to one of favourite restaurants and it is just that little bit far to do takeaway from there, I thought I would try and replicate one of our favourite dishes from there. They make this dish with spicy sausage but you can always use any type of non spicy sausage….like my friends who are using a pork and fennel sausage.
I really do like the way the meat and juices get trapped into the grooves of the orecchiette, like perfect pockets of flavour in every spoonful of ears. However, you can use any pasta and I’m sure it will still be just as delicious. This dish is so simple, you’ll be surprised at just how a few ingredients and a little bit of time can give you a glorious meal that will please all.
4 to 6 sausages of any variety (I used Italian hot cacciatore as it has plenty of flavour)
½ brown onion chopped finely
1 clove garlic chopped finely (or ½ teaspoon of minced garlic)
½ head of broccoli, florets and some of the stalk chopped really finely but leaving some florets in larger pieces
250-300ml chicken stock
Splash of white wine or verjuice
A splash of oil for cooking
Salt and pepper to taste
1 packet of orecchiette enough for 4 people
Large amount of grated parmesan or reggiano
Chopped chilli or chilli flakes (optional if you want more heat)
I found that depending on the pasta you use, the pasta can take longer to cook than the sauce itself so you may want to put the pasta on the same time you are preparing the sauce. Cook pasta as per instructions.
Using a large saucepan big enough to fit the pasta in as well, heat the oil in medium to highish heat and fry off the sausage meat out of its casing. Break up the meat so it browns evenly then add the onion and garlic. As we want the meat to brown and not burn the onions and garlic, I always add the onions and garlic after the meat. Plus it’s nice to have the onions cook in the sausage fat that is rendering in the pan.
Once the onions have become clear, add the wine/verjuice and let that cook off and reduce, then add the stock. When the stock has also reduced a bit, add the broccoli. When the broccoli is just cooked (you still want some crunch), add the pasta and some of the pasta water. Give it a good mix, taste it before adding salt and pepper if it needs it.
And that’s it, serve it with a generous handful of parmesan, or not, or a bit more chilli, a glass of something or not. Just enjoy.