I wanted to buy some spicy Italian sausage for this recipe, by my local grocery store only had sweet Italian sausage. Guess what? It was still delicious! And, if you're adventurous, you could even try some smoked sausage. Yes ma'am!
I also bought some fancy-schmancy smoked gouda to go on the pasta because I thought the creamy, smokey cheese would be a nice contrast to the spicy red pepper... and it was! Because the cheese was so expensive, I decided to mix it with a less expensive blend of generic "Italian blend shredded cheese." In the end, I didn't end up needing much cheese at all, so I could have used straight gouda and still not broken the bank. If you don't want to spring for the fancy smoked gouda, just the shredded Italian blend or some parmesan would have been great on here. You don't need a lot, just a light sprinkle to balance the flavors and textures.
I chose to use frozen broccoli florets because they're already blanched prior to freezing. This makes the cooking processes much faster. Plus, you can buy it and stash it in the freezer until you're ready to use it without worry that it will get wilty and moldy like it does in the bottom of your refrigerator!
Total Recipe cost: $8.37
Servings Per Recipe: 8 (about 1.5 cups each)
Cost per serving: $1.05
Prep time: 5 min. Cook time: 25 min. Total: 30 min.
|2 Tbsp||olive oil||$0.24|
|1/2 tsp||crushed red pepper||$0.03|
|1/2 lb.||Italian sausage||$2.75|
|1 lb.||frozen broccoli florets||$1.63|
|1 lb.||bow tie pasta||$1.29|
|2 oz. (1/2 cup)||smoked gouda||$1.47|
|2 oz. (1/2 cup)||shredded Italian cheese||$0.63|
|to taste||salt & pepper||$0.05|
STEP 1: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes or until al dente). Drain in a colander.
STEP 2: While the pasta is cooking, begin the rest of the dish. Mince the garlic. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute more.
STEP 3: Squeeze the Italian sausage out of the casing into the skillet. Break it up with a spatula as it cooks. Saute until cooked through. Add the broccoli (thaw before hand) to the skillet and saute for 3-5 minutes or just until the broccoli is tender. Turn off the burner to prevent the broccoli from over cooking (it will begin to turn an olive green color if it overcooks).
STEP 4: When the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the skillet with the sausage and broccoli. Stir to coat it in the garlic and red pepper infused oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, stir, and serve warm!
Step By Step Photos
Begin by boiling the water to cook the pasta. By the time the water reaches a boil and the pasta is cooked, you'll probably have the rest of the dish ready and waiting for the pasta to be stirred in! I like bowties for this recipe because the shape adds great texture to the dish.
While you're waiting for the water to boil and the pasta to cook, mince the garlic. Add it to a large skillet with the olive oil. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook for about a minute more. Be careful not to burn the red pepper flakes. If they begin to brown, turn the heat down a touch. The olive oil is now getting infused with the flavors of the red pepper and garlic - yum!
This is the sausage that I used. Like I said, you could use hot Italian sausage, or even smoked sausage if you like. I only used half of this one pound package and froze the rest for another recipe later.
Squeeze the sausage out of the casing into the skillet (or slice it - your choice) and cook until done all the way through. The seasoning in the sausage will add further flavor to the oil in the pan, which ultimately acts as a sauce on the pasta and broccoli.
Add the broccoli to the skillet. The broccoli should be at least half way thawed or else it will add to your cooking time. I also ended up cutting the pieces a bit smaller. Cook the broccoli just until it is fork tender and then turn the burner off.
By this time the pasta is probably cooked and drained. Add it to the skillet.
Stir to coat the pasta in the flavor infused oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
These are the two cheese that I used. One inexpensive, one expensive. I originally mixed up one cup of each, but ended up only using about half of it for this dish (or one cup total). You could use just one of these cheeses and the dish would still be great.
I just shredded the gouda and mixed it into the less expensive cheese.
Sprinkle the cheese over top. I only used about one cup of cheese total. Because the dish uses oil as a sauce, too much cheese would make this dish really heavy.
Stir everything together.
...and enjoy every bite!