This Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Pasta is a quick and easy dinner that’s perfect for weeknights! Spicy Italian sausage, broccoli, and garlic roast together on a sheet pan while the pasta cooks. Everything is tossed together with fresh lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and topped with dollops of ricotta.
On a busy day the last thing I want to do is spend a bunch of time making dinner. I’m sure many of you can relate. I want something that’s effortless, doesn’t use a million ingredients and won’t leave me with a sink full of dishes to deal with afterwards.
Lucky for you, I have a whole lot of recipes that fall under the category of effortless and today I’m adding one more. Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Pasta. The combination of the spicy Italian sausage, roasted broccoli, lemon and Parmesan cheese go so well together.
As an added bonus, there’s dollops of ricotta added to the pasta, which give it a nice creamy consistency when you stir it all together. While the pasta cooks, the sausage and broccoli roast together in the oven, which is a great time saver. I’d never tried roasting crumbled sausage until this recipe and it’s a game changer!
Ingredients Needed to Make Sausage and Broccoli Pasta
- pasta such as rotini, penne or cavatappi
- broccoli florets
- red pepper flakes, divided
- spicy Italian chicken sausage
- Parmesan cheese
- ricotta cheese
How to Make Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Pasta
As I mentioned above I tried a new method for cooking the sausage in this recipe. It’s such a time saver and you don’t have to deal with any grease splattering all over your stove.
To start line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Add the broccoli florets and smashed garlic cloves to one side of the sheet pan and drizzle them with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then toss together until coated. Spread them into a single layer making sure to save room for the sausage.
Squeeze the sausage from the casing onto the sheet pan. You want it to be in smallish pieces, similar to how it looks when you crumble it in a pan. Yes, it’s going to be messy and you’ll definitely need to wash your hands afterwards. The broccoli and sausage roast in the oven for about 15 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time give everything a toss and break up the sausage as needed.
While the sausage and broccoli are roasting, cook the pasta. Save about 1/2 of a cup of the pasta water before you drain it. The pasta goes back into the pot or pan along with the roasted broccoli and sausage. Take the smashed garlic, finely chop it, and add it into the pasta.
Add in the lemon zest, juice, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir everything together and add in some of the pasta water so that a sauce starts to form. Finish off the pasta dish with dollops of ricotta which you can either whip like I’ve done, or just drop it on straight from the container.
How to Make Whipped Ricotta
I mentioned above that you can whip the ricotta. I used whipped ricotta when I made this roasted cauliflower and chickpea pesto pasta. If this sounds complicated or time consuming, I assure you it’s not or I probably wouldn’t do it. The texture of whipped ricotta is so silky and creamy and blends perfectly into this pasta when you stir everything together.
To make whipped ricotta add the ricotta cheese, salt and pepper to a food processor or blender. Blend or purée until it’s smooth. If you’re using a blender, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it out so it’s actually blends. For this recipe I like to add a little lemon zest and a pinch of red pepper flakes, but that optional.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Spicy is the Pasta?
That depends on how spicy your sausage is and how much red pepper flakes you use. If you like it extra spicy add an extra pinch of red pepper flakes the pasta and a pinch into the whipped ricotta. If you want it less spicy, use mild or sweet Italian sausage and limit the red pepper flakes to 1/4 teaspoon.
Can I Use Sausage That is Already Cooked?
Yes. If buy sausage links that are already cooked, slice them into approximately 1/2 inch pieces and add them onto the baking sheet with the broccoli following the remaining steps as you would with the uncooked sausage.
How to Make it Vegetarian?
If you want this to be a vegetarian pasta, simply omit the sausage and just use the roasted broccoli.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
- grilled chicken and asparagus pesto pasta
- one pot caprese chicken pasta
- creamy penne pasta
- cacio e pepe
- zucchini lemon basil ricotta pasta
- 12 ounces pasta such as rotini or penne, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cup broccoli florets
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
- 2 uncooked spicy Italian chicken sausage links, removed from casings and crumbled
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese, add to blender with 1 tablespoon water, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Add the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, and a tablespoon or water or milk to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil. Add the broccoli florets and smashed garlic cloves to the baking sheet. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Toss together with your hands until the broccoli is coated. Spread into a single layer.
- On the other half of the sheet pan squeeze the uncooked sausage out of the casing and break it up into bite sized pieces. Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking time.
- While the broccoli and sausage roast, cook the pasta. Reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta water and then drain the rest.
- Add the broccoli, sausage and Parmesan cheese to the pasta. Finely chop the roasted garlic and add it to the pasta along with the lemon zest and lemon juice. Pour in some of the reserved pasta water to loosen everything and create a sauce.
- Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and additional salt and pepper if needed. Top the pasta with dollops of the whipped ricotta.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 503Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 315mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 25g