This Five Ingredient Scrap Pasta with Broccoli, Italian Sausage and Parmesan is a restaurant-quality meal, that’s deceptively easy to throw together, packed full of flavor, and might possibly become your new favorite Friday night recipe. Plus, find out how restaurants make their pasta SO DARN GOOD!
Fridays call for easy. Fridays call for indulgence. Fridays call for pasta.
Better yet, Fridays call for Scrap Pasta with Broccoli, Italian Sausage and Parmesan. A fancy looking meal, that’s deceptively easy to throw together, packed full of flavor, and might possibly become your new favorite Friday night recipe.
As the title implies, I initially created this recipe specifically to use up the leftover pasta scraps from this Bolognese Ravioli I made earlier this week, but as Teddy and I later found out as we gobbled it up at an alarming rate, you could really use any pasta to make this. Even further than that, you could really tailor it to be exactly what you want it to be. We had broccoli on hand leftover from this Alfredo Pizza we made last week, but if you prefer hearty kale, broccoli rabe, or even cauliflower, you could make the swap. Also, we used parmesan, but asiago or pecorino would work just as well.
Really, what makes this pasta delicious isn’t necessarily the ingredients (although those help), it’s the simple method in which it’s prepared. Starting off with a super flavorful base of browned Italian sausage creates the first layer of flavor, because all of those brown bits that form at the bottom of the pan are like secret flavor weapons just waiting to be released by a splash of moisture. Once the sausage cooks up, the chopped broccoli goes in, along with a few cloves of garlic sliced paper thin – layer of flavor number two.
Here is where the magic happens. The cooked pasta goes in, gets tossed in the sausage, broccoli and subsequent fat along with a handful of parmesan cheese (layer three). The cheese clings to the pasta for dear life, and then instead of throwing in some heavy creamy or even white wine, a few ladles of starchy, salty pasta is added in (layer four), those brown bits are scraped up, and everything is tossed together.
The beauty is you really don’t have to add any other liquid, the pasta water becomes the sauce, a luxurious, creamy sauce that only needs a liberal amount of extra parmesan cheese (layer five) added to it – and of course, salt and pepper for good measure.
I garnish it with PLENTY more parmesan cheese, and serve it immediately.
- Scrap pasta from this ravioli or 8 oz. of your favorite pasta (papparadelle, fusilli or orecchiette would be great)
- 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 Italian sausage links, removed from casings
- 2 cups finely chopped broccoli (you don't want any big pieces)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 large garlic cloves, sliced very thin
- 1 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese, divided
- ½ cup reserved pasta water (more if needed)
- Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a rolling boil. Season liberally with salt - it should taste like sea water. RESERVE PASTA WATER!
- Cook scrap pasta for 3-4 minutes. If using dried pasta, cook until just under aldente.
- Heat a large saute pan to a medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add sausage, break up with a wooden spoon and cook until brown, about 3 minutes. Add remaining olive oil, broccoli and salt. If you want a spicier pasta, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flake. Cook until broccoli is bright green, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute.
- Add pasta to the pan, toss with sausage, garlic and broccoli. Add ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Toss. Ladle in ½ cup of reserved pasta water. Toss for 1 minute. Add cheese, continue to toss until sauce thickens, if you need to add more water, add a tablespoon at a time, tossing in between each until desired consistency is reached. If you ever add too much pasta water, just add more cheese, and continue to toss, it will thicken.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parmesan.