This year, one of my main resolutions in the kitchen is to find or come up with more weeknight recipes that are truly manageable and satisfying. I'm still trying to learn how to keep things simple during the week. Many of the recipes out there labeled as “Quick! Easy! Delicious!” don’t come close to meeting those expectations. We all know that feeling of walking in the door after a long day and not knowing what to make -- or being overwhelmed by a lot of dinner prep. I came up with this recipe with these things in mind. It requires just a few minutes of hands-on time (with the oven doing the rest of the work), and the combination of roasted sausage, broccoli, and fennel is pretty hard to beat. A few details make this dish really good: nestling small pieces of sausage among the broccoli and fennel ensures that everything is done at the same time, and tossing everything with a tangy, lemony mustard sauce ups the flavor substantially. Though no sides are needed, some crusty bread, polenta, or a leafy green salad would make fine accompaniments. Avocado is also a swell companion. —EmilyC
Test Kitchen Notes
EmilyC's mix of broccoli, fennel, and sausage makes for an especially quick and easy supper while also hitting all the flavor, color, and texture notes a cook or eater could ask for. Our family likes broccoli stalks as much as florets, so I added those as well -- peeled and sliced into thick coins. The whole-grain mustard is a smart addition that adds a friendly kick, and I used spicy sausage, so just the slightest dash of cayenne was all I needed. Garnished with fennel fronds, it is beautiful as well as scrumptious. —calendargirl
(about 3 or 4 links) good-quality pork sausage, removed from casings and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
small heads of broccoli, cut into small florets
medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Finely grated zest and one 1 teaspoon of juice from 1 small lemon
Aleppo pepper, or a lesser amount of red pepper flakes or cayenne (omit if you're using spicy sausage)
Combine broccoli florets and sliced fennel in a shallow casserole or baking dish. You want them to fit snugly in a single, even layer. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, whole-grain mustard, lemon juice and zest, and Aleppo pepper. Add to broccoli and fennel and toss well to coat evenly. Nestle the pieces of sausage among the broccoli and fennel.
Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the broccoli and fennel are tender and the sausage is no longer pink. For extra security, you can toss about halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking.
Optional but highly recommended: Heat broiler, and place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the sausage and slightly char the broccoli and fennel in spots.
Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.