Penne with Sausage and Broccoli


September 16, 2012 by Lauren

Once again, America’s Test Kitchen for the win.  This is a simple, quick and easy pasta dish that tastes super impressive.  There’s complexity of flavor (from the stock, cream, white wine and vinegar) and terrific bases of flavor (from the browned sausage and sauteed onion).  This dish is really best done in a non-teflon skillet.  A stainless steel skillet allows you to brown the meat and leave the brown bits behind in the pan.  Those brown bits turn into the base of the sauce.  It’s a complex reaction that I won’t bother explaining except to say “brown food tastes good.”  The more brown you can build, the more flavor you’ll have.


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Penne with Sausage and Broccoli

Active Cook Time: 30 minutes
Recipe Adapted From: America’s Test Kitchen: Skillet Suppers 
  • 1 pound sweet italian pork sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1 crown of broccoli, cut into pieces
  • 8 oz. penne pasta
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up pieces with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.  Transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  2. Cook onion in the rendered fat from the sausage until softened, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add penne and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.  Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in broth, wine, heavy cream and bring to a boil.  Add sausage, reducing head to medium.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the pasta begins to soften, about 8 minutes.
  5. Toss the broccoli and pepper on top of the pasta and continue to cook, covered, until broccoli is bright green and tender, about 8 minutes.
  6. Off heat, stir in parmesan and balsamic vinegar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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