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Sausage Broccoli Pasta

5 from 1 vote

posted: 04/03/24

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Sausage Broccoli Pasta is a quick and easy dinner recipe that your whole family will love. It is made in just 30 minutes but with the most amazing flavors.

overhead view of sausage broccoli pasta topped with fresh parmesan and red pepper flakes

This amazing and simple broccoli pasta recipe is an easy twist on my much loved Broccoli Pasta. That is a great vegetarian dinner that has gotten positive reviews. The other day I was craving something a little heavier, so I added some Italian sausage.

The end result was this delicious sausage pasta recipe. It is such a fast recipe, and I know it will become a weeknight favorite with your family. The flavors of garlic, Parmesan, and Italian sausage will win over even the pickiest eater.

How to Make Sausage Broccoli Pasta

This is a brief overview of how to make this delicious recipe. For the full recipe with all of the measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Remember you are only cooking half of the box. Be sure to reserve pasta water before you drain the noodles.
  2. Prepare the broccoli and the cheese. While the water is coming to a boil, cut up the broccoli and grate the Parmesan cheese. In order for this recipe to go quickly, you need to multitask.
  3. Sauté the garlic. In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for just 30 seconds. You want to cook it until it is fragrant making sure not to burn it.
  4. Brown the sausage. Add the sausage to the skillet, and break it up, browning it.
  5. Add the broccoli. Toss the broccoli florets, reserved pasta water, and some kosher salt in with the sausage. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.
  6. Add in the cooked pasta. Finally add in the pasta and the cheese.
small plate full of broccoli pasta with sausage in it

How to Cook Pasta

Boiling noodles seems like just about the easiest thing in the world, but there are a few things that I always suggest. Since this Sausage Broccoli Pasta is so simple, you want the pasta to be perfect.

  • Make sure to use enough water. For this dish you want about 8 cups of water.
  • Salt the water. Adding half a teaspoon of kosher salt to the water adds so much to this recipe.
  • Add the pasta only once the water has come to a roaring boil. You want to see really big bubbles.
  • Note the time on the box. Set a timer for how long your pasta should cook. Pull out a noodle as the timer goes off, and test the pasta. It should be al dente or have a little bite left to it.

Why Reserve Pasta Water

Before you drain your pasta water for this Italian sausage pasta, you want to save some of that salty starchy water. It is like liquid gold and just that little half cup pulls this recipe together at the end.

Broccoli Pasta

This Broccoli Pasta is a simple go to weeknight dinner that kids and adults can both agree on. It will become a regular in your dinner rotation.

Pasta Type

For this recipe you want to use a short cut pasta. I love the shells in this recipe, as in the original, but of course you could use penne pasta, orecchiette pasta, or bow tie pasta.


I like using Italian pork sausage in this recipe, but you could just as easily use turkey sausages to cut back a a little on the fat in the recipe. Add it after sautéing the garlic, just as the recipe is currently written. If it begins to stick, you may need to add a touch more olive oil.

Sautéing Garlic

When I was first learning to cook, one mistake that I made regularly was burning my garlic. Garlic only takes about 30 seconds to cook in olive oil. Those 30 seconds make it soft, flavor the oil, and transform the garlic from intense to the perfect flavor.

However, longer than 30 seconds and your garlic will burn. This adds intense bitterness to your oil and can really ruin a whole dish. What prevents garlic from burning is adding more ingredients after it sautés to absorb the heat of the pan. This is why in quick dishes like this, it’s a good idea to have your other ingredients ready to go.

If you should burn your garlic, just start over. You will have wasted some oil and garlic but you will save the rest of your dinner.

Using Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

A key to success for this sausage pasta is using freshly grated Parmesan cheese. While a little more expensive, it is well worth the extra cost. There are so few ingredients in this recipe, that we want to make sure each one is the best. Freshly grated parmesan cheese will add the perfect taste and texture here.


Leftovers of this delicious recipe should be kept in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to four days. I recommend reheating the pasta in skillet with a bit of chicken broth, covered, over low heat until it warms through. As with all recipes, use your best discrimination when it comes to leftovers.

side view of Italian sausage pasta with parmesan and red pepper flakes

Other Fast Pasta Dinners

If you make this dinner or any of my other recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

overhead view of sausage broccoli pasta topped with fresh parmesan and red pepper flakes
5 from 1 vote

Sausage Broccoli Pasta

Serves: 4 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Sausage Broccoli Pasta is a quick and easy dinner recipe that your whole family will love. It is made in just 30 minutes but with the most amazing flavors.


  • 1/2 pound pasta shells cooked according to package instructions, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water before draining
  • 1 pound broccoli (3 small heads or 4 cups florets) cut into small florets
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water before draining, and adding 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt with the dry pasta.
    1/2 pound pasta shells
  • While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Cut the broccoli, mince the garlic, and shred the cheese.
    1 pound broccoli, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn it. Add in the sausage and break up, browning it.
    2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 pound Italian sausage
  • Once in the sausage is browned, add the broccoli, pasta water, and a teaspoon of salt. Cook until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes.
    1 pound broccoli, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Toss with the cooked pasta. Stir in the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!
    1/2 pound pasta shells, 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
overhead view of sausage broccoli pasta topped with fresh parmesan and red pepper flakes

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Sausage Broccoli Pasta

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Kathy says

    You are now my “go to” site for recipes. I love how detailed you are and how easy and really tasty your recipes are. Thx. Keep them coming!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Oh Kathy, thank you so much for this comment. It made my day!

  2. Miroslav says

    It seems you forgot to mention adding parmesan.

    • Lisa Longley says

      It is in the last step. :)

  3. Denna Dlabaj says

    Lovely. Tell us how it is.

  4. Willie says

    Can I use frozen broccoli?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’ve only made this recipe with fresh broccoli. I’m sure you can use it with frozen broccoli, but it might add a bit more liquid to the dish than you want.

  5. Bonnie says

    5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe. I lost my original from 25 yrs ago but this is close enough. I use 3 cloves of garlic and used to cook the broccoli in the pasta water the last 3 min reserving 1/4 c before draining. Becoming lazy, using defrosted frozen broccoli in a pinch works well in this recipe. I also slice the sausage sometimes as that is the first way I had it. This dish is wonderful hot or cold. Thank you for posting it. Having for dinner tonight :))

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad that you like it!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners