Save this SO easy Sausage Pasta, with a streamlined method and short ingredient list (there are just 4!), for busy nights—or just those nights when you want to get a delish dinner on the table fast.

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Sausage Pasta

I love keeping ground Italian sausage, either chicken, turkey, or pork, in my freezer and using it to flavor simple dinners like this one. Since it already has spices and herbs in it, it adds all of the flavor you crave without having to measure out anything else!

This dish combines the sausage with pasta, broccoli, and Parmesan cheese for healthy comfort food the whole family can enjoy.

The other great thing about this recipe? (In addition to it being super FAST!) It can work for kids who like their foods mix, or don’t, since the pieces of everything are big enough to easily separate out if needed. And it’s satisfying for adults—and is great topped with a little crushed red pepper.

Ingredients You Need

There are just four simple ingredients in this skillet pasta recipe. (You may need some olive oil too and a sprinkle of salt—two items which you may already have in your pantry.)

ingredients-in-broccoli-sausage-pasta
  • Pasta: I used shell pasta in this recipe, but any small or medium shape that’s similar in size to the broccoli and sausage works well. (The similar size of the ingredients just makes it easy to eat.)
  • Bulk ground Italian sausage: You can use chicken, pork, or turkey sausage as you like.
  • Broccoli: Cut broccoli florets or use precut florets from the store.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: Grated Parmesan tends to have way more flavor than shredded, so get grated if you can. Pecorino or Romano works well, too.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this recipe.

how-to-make-broccoli-pasta-step-by-step
  1. Gather your ingredients. Warm a large skillet. Add the sausage and cook fully.
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli and cook.
  3. Drain in a colander.
  4. Stir the broccoli and pasta into the pan with the sausage. Serve with cheese.

TIP: You’ll want to reserve a little pasta water before you drain the pot so you have some liquid to help the pasta have enough moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of sausage is best in this recipe?

I like ground mild Italian sausage, either pork, turkey, or chicken. You can also use pork if you prefer. I’ve done this recipe with all three and they all work well. (Chicken and turkey sausage are leaner than pork sausage, so see the note in the recipe about adding olive oil to the pan before you start if you use one of those options.) If the sausage you buy is in casings, you’ll want to either remove it or simply slice it into rounds.)

Can I make this gluten-free?

Absolutely! Just reach for gluten-free pasta—I love the Barilla GF pasta since it tastes just like the real thing and no one in my family can tell the difference. And it’s really affordable and available at most grocery stores. (I cook it for about a minute less than it says to on the package for the best texture.)

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Can I prep this meal in advance?

You can wash, dry, and chop the broccoli ahead and store it in an airtight container such as a quart-size mason jar up to 3 days ahead. That will at least save you from having to chop when it’s time to cook. You can also of course buy broccoli florets already chopped for you. You can also make the entire meal and then simply reheat it come dinner time.

How to Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on a heat-safe plate or bowl to serve.

Best Tips for Success

  • Grated Parmesan tends to have way more flavor than shredded, so get grated if you can.
  • Cook pasta on the lower end of the time window on the package for the best texture that won’t fall apart.
  • Wash, dry, and chop your broccoli into florets and store it in an airtight container such as a quart-size mason jar up to 3 days ahead.
  • Use precut broccoli florets from the produce aisle to make this even faster.
  • Use whichever shape of pasta your kids prefer, such as shells, rotini, farfalle, ziti, or elbows.
  • For older babies who are eating finger foods, make sure that the pasta is a shape they can handle or cut it into smaller pieces.
  • Dairy-free: Omit the Parmesan.
  • Gluten-free: Use your favorite GF pasta.

Related Recipes


I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe, so please comment below to share!

broccoli-pasta-in-white-bowl

4-Ingredient Sausage Pasta (with Broccoli)

This pasta recipe is quick and delicious and the flavor from the sausage is really key. (Just a heads up that you'll need to reserve a little of the pasta cooking water, so keep that in mind BEFORE you drain the pasta.) Chicken sausage is usually leaner than pork, so when making this with chicken sausage, I like to add butter or olive oil before serving.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Course Dinner
Calories 224kcal
Servings 9

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta
  • 1 pound bulk ground Italian sausage (chicken, turkey, or pork)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil (optional)
  • Salt, ground black pepper, additional Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water in a cup, then drain the pasta and broccoli.
  • Meanwhile, warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, break up with a wooden spoon, and cook until fully cooked, about 8-10 minutes. If there seems to be more than about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, you can drain some off.
  • Stir the broccoli and pasta into the pan with the sausage. Stir in the ½ cup pasta water and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Add the butter or olive oil if desired.
  • Serve warm with salt, pepper, and additional Parmesan to taste as desired.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Grated Parmesan tends to have way more flavor than shredded, so get grated if you can.
  • Wash, dry, and chop your broccoli into florets and store it in an airtight container such as a quart-size mason jar up to 3 days ahead. Or, use precut broccoli florets from the produce aisle.
  • Use whichever shape of pasta your kids prefer, such as shells, rotini, farfalle, ziti, or elbows.
  • Add more flavor by adding 1 tablespoon tomato paste to the sausage in Step 2.  You can also top with olives, feta cheese, or fresh basil or parsley.
  • Dairy-free: Omit the Parmesan.
  • Gluten-free: Use your favorite GF pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 224kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 731mg, Potassium: 429mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 518IU, Vitamin C: 41mg, Calcium: 96mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published March 2020.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yet ANOTHER winner. Admittedly, with so few ingredients using the basic ingredients, it’s not the fanciest or most developed of flavor profiles I’ve ever eaten, but it came together very quickly and everyone was happy! If I have the additional ingredient suggestions next time, I might give them a try. The idea of cooking the broccoli with the pasta for its last 4 minutes is simple but genius. Thanks again for sharing, Amy!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious!! Whole family loved it! Thanks for yet another awesome recipe!

    1. It should work about the same with the timing. The only difference is that the broccoli may break up a little bit more than it would if you used fresh.