No. 63: Linguine with Sausage & Broccoli

Our buddy, Pete, is in town thanks to a work conference. I love how many of our friends end up coming to San Francisco and stay to visit.

This is Pete and I at a Cal football game last fall. Good guy.

Pete and I

We ended the work week at The House of Shields in the Financial District. I love the old school bar vibe there's always an interesting happy hour corporate crowd. They also have a really good Moscow Mule in a legitimate copper cup.

Then it was back to the East Bay. I had kiddos that badly needed a walk and we were hungry.

Linguine with Sausage & Broccoli

Presented with dinner options, Pete chose this great Food 52 recipe. After a quick stop at Safeway for garlic, broccoli, beer and a few other necessities, we were ready to make dinner.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6
1 pound italian sausage, a mix of hot and sweet*
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 pound linguine
1 1/2 cup small broccoli florets*
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
3 tablespoons butter*
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

*We used all hot turkey sausage and more like two cups florets. I also just did one generous pat of butter, probably 1 1/2 tablespoons. It was plenty.

To make

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.

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. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Begin boiling a pot of salted water over high heat for the pasta.

Wine and garlic

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.

Fill a small saucepan with about 1/2 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. (This is where I burned my index finger like a real genius when I grabbed a hot pan with no oven mitt.)

Add the thyme leaves to the garlic/wine sauce and then remove 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 (about 10 minutes). 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. (I forgot this step, so it all just ended up in there together. Then I gently tossed ... and tossed some more.)

Ready

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 and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately, passing the Parmesan at the table.

The results

Pete said it best, this dish tastes much more decadent and creamy than it really is. There isn't an actual cream sauce at play, but you have all those flavor elements.

Final

This looks deceptively bland, but it was pretty terrific!

Hot turkey sausage and more broccoli gave this recipe an even healthier lean, and some needed spice. Extra Parmesan for topping and a bit of black pepper were excellent add-ins, but also consider some shallot or onion with the garlic or red pepper flakes.

You could feed an army with this meal and a side salad. But don't worry, Pete and I both had seconds and nearly took care of it all:)

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