Amanda & Merrill

Linguine with Sausage and Broccoli

February  1, 2011

Linguine with Sausage and Broccoli

- Merrill

The night before Christmas, my sister, Abs (who’d just had a baby a month earlier, mind you), insisted on whipping up a home cooked meal for the rest of the family. Forget the fact that she was planning to roast two ducks and a ham the next day! 

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She said we were having pasta, vowing that she had a tried-and-true recipe that was even easier than going through the "hassle of picking something up." I was convinced she was just being a good hostess. But then I watched her prepare the pasta -- linguine and sweet Italian sausage enveloped in a savory, unctuous sauce of garlic, stock and white wine, finished with a little butter -- and was impressed not only by how deftly and speedily she pulled it all together, but by the flavor punch packed by this simple dish.

A few weeks ago, I had a go at it myself, subbing in hot sausage for some of the sweet and adding a handful of fresh broccoli for color and crunch. My husband and I gobbled it up, and now I have my sister to thank for what's definitely earned a regular spot in our dinner rotation.

Linguine with Sausage and Broccoli

Serves 6

  • 1 pound Italian sausage, a mix of hot and sweet
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

1. Remove the sausage from its casings and break into small chunks. Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy pan with high sides over medium-high heat. When it’s smoking, add the sausage and sauté, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned – about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and keep warm on a plate.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is softened and fragrant (do not burn it). Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by about two thirds, then add the chicken broth and return the sauce to a boil. Reduce until the sauce is dark and somewhat syrupy, 7 to 10 minutes.

3. While the sauce is reducing, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a small saucepan with about ½ an inch of water, salt it generously and set it over high heat. When it begins to boil, add the broccoli and stir once. Cover the pot and cook the broccoli until just barely tender, a minute or two. Drain the broccoli and set aside.

4. Stir the thyme into the sauce and then remove the sauce from the heat while you cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling rapidly, add the linguine and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and set over medium-low heat. Fold gently to distribute, and then add the butter and a little of the pasta water, tossing to coat. Add the reserved sausage, broccoli and Parmesan and toss again gently, adding enough pasta water to make the sauce silky but not watery. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Serve immediately, passing the Parmesan at the table.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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zingyginger February 15, 2011
Love it! Only one question-was the thyme for garnish?
Merrill S. February 16, 2011
Good catch! You should add the thyme to the sauce at the very end of step 2, so it stays fresh. I'll edit the recipe today -- thanks for the heads-up!
John R. February 10, 2011
Hello. I made this for lunch one day last week and it was DELISH. I don't know who your sister is but she must be an angel. I couldn't be arsed setting aside the sausage, so I started the garlic and some pepper flakes in olive oil and then browned the sausage and added the wine and chicken stock. In the spirit of procedural optimization, I steamed the broccoli in a basket over the boiling pasta water and tossed it in at the end. It was taaaasty! Thanks Merrill!
artsycella February 3, 2011
Mm... made this last night with andouille sausage and spinach, and it was scrumptious. It did take me a while to make, but that's probably because I'm an amateur at some things and like to take my time about them. One question, though--I feel like I'm terrible at reducing. I don't have the faintest idea when something is reduced by two thirds instead of, say, one third or three quarters. Any suggestions on how to get this right without pouring sauce into measuring cups and then back into the pan every few minutes?
Merrill S. February 6, 2011
Hmm. That's a tough one, as I always just eyeball it. Anyone else have suggestions?
Hippo F. April 24, 2011
I stick a chopstick or similar into the liquid and mark where the liquid comes to. Then you can just put the chopstick back in and see if it has reduced the proper amount.
peanuttyhi February 1, 2011
I just wash and cut the broccoli into small pieces, put in the bottom of the colander and pour the pasta over it to drain. The broccoli is usually 'cooked' just right. No extra pot to clean.
Merrill S. February 4, 2011
Wow, cool technique. Will have to try it.
F2% February 1, 2011
Love it .. and anything that is "unctuous" is wonderful in my book!

Merrill S. February 4, 2011
Eliana60 February 1, 2011
Me too! Me too! I make this frequently with some red pepper flakes thrown in with the garlic. And I just microwave the broccoli for 4 minutes before I throw it into the mix.
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
I would have added red pepper flakes, but the sausages I used were pretty hot on their own. And I always forget how reliably broccoli cooks in the microwave -- thanks for the reminder!
mainecoon February 1, 2011
Lovely as presented. A couple of tweeks from one who simply can't resist leaving her mark: try adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pasta water and a few chopped black-olives-cured-in-oil to the toss. Or not.
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Love the idea of putting pepper flakes in the pasta water -- never heard of anything like that before. And olives make everything better!
mrslarkin February 1, 2011
Welcome home, Merrill! We missed you! Hope you both had a fabulous time. Thanks for this great, delicious recipe!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Thank you so much -- I missed you guys too!
Megan H. February 1, 2011
Love this meal! I'm always looking for recipes where I can get Kenyon to eat his veggies. He'll eat anything with sausage. Thank your sister for me!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
I will! Let me know what Kenyon thinks... :)
Rhonda35 February 1, 2011
Similar recipe in my back pocket from The New Basics. So easy and so delicious. Thanks for sharing this as it reminded me of how good that sausage/broccoli/pasta combo can be!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
You're welcome!
drbabs February 1, 2011
I had a similar recipe many years ago and instead of cooking the broccoli separately, you threw it into the pasta water a minute or two before the pasta was done. Great recipe, Merrill! Welcome back!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
mariaraynal February 1, 2011
I have a similar formula for pasta dishes -- the olive oil/wine/parmesan combination works beautifully. And sausage and broccoli is a great combo.
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
Yes, this sauce base is a great jumping off point for other flavors and ingredients.
testkitchenette February 1, 2011
I love "pantry" meals such as this. Thanks for sharing Merrill!
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
You're very welcome!
cathy_price February 1, 2011
Just a suggestion, don't throw out the water that you cooked the broccoli in. Save the broccoli water and cook the pasta in it!
testkitchenette February 1, 2011
Great suggestion, I try to remember to do this or at least water my plants with the water from blanching the vegetables.
Merrill S. February 1, 2011
To be honest, I don't love the flavor that the broccoli water gives the pasta -- but that's just personal taste!