Recipe – Ziti with Sausage and Broccoli

One of my favorite tasting, and most versatile foods in recipes is sausage.  There’s nothing like a good quality pork sausage, but if you want to change it up try chicken sausage, which is a tasty alternative to pork.  I get both kinds from Greensbury Market, an online modern-day market specializing in healthy, great-tasting, certified organic meat and sustainable seafood, whom I write for.  I’ve met the owner and he knows exactly where his products come from and how they were raised – organically, humanely, and sustainably on small family owned farms.

What you’ll need

sausages, pork or chicken, 4 links

broccoli, 2 heads

ziti, 1 pound

marinara sauce, homemade or from a jar (I recommend Rao’s)

basil, handful of fresh, 2 tablespoons dried

olive oil, extra virgin, 3 tablespoons and more for drizzling

grated cheese – parmigiano reggiano, or asiago, or your favorite (Tip – the name “parmesan” does not guarantee authentic Italian cheese)

To prepare

Pasta – Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water for every one pound of pasta.  Bring to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt, add the pasta, stir frequently, and cook for the recommended time on package.  Taste the pasta for doneness.  It should be al dente, firm but cooked through. Remove with tongs or slotted spoon to a colander in the sink, reserving the pasta water to use to thin the sauce if necessary, or to reheat the pasta. Do not rinse the pasta. (Cook the pasta while you are preparing the other components of your dish).

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat a cast iron or non stick saute pan on medium heat. When hot, drizzle with a little olive oil and add the sausages.  Cook for three minutes, or until browned and turn over. Repeat so they are browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.

sausage with broccoli

2. Wash and cut the broccoli into small florets.  Add the broccoli to the pan with the sausages, drizzle with a little more olive oil, toss, and place the pan in the hot oven.  Cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the broccoli is starting to brown and the sausage is done, (a thermometer should read 160 degrees). Remove from oven.

3. Remove the sausage from the pan and slice into thin disks on an angle.  Place back into the pan with the broccoli and add the marinara sauce (marinara recipe here), and bring up to heat.

4. Add the pasta and cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes.  Plate onto a large platter, or individual bowls, garnish with fresh basil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly grated cheese.  Bon Appetit!