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Rigatoni with Broccoli

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Rigatoni with Broccoli is an easy weeknight meal, but impressive enough for a special occasion as well. This healthier pasta dish includes broccoli florets and a lean turkey sausage, with a simple sauce made with freshly grated parmesan. Make this one for your family soon!

For other delicious pasta recipes, try The Ultimate Lasagna Recipe, a simple Summer Pasta Salad, or Baked Feta Pasta with Spinach!

Overhead view of a pot of pasta, broccoli, sausage, and parmesan cheese.

Best Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

I’ve decided that SueBee Homemaker is definitely lacking pasta recipes, so I’m remedying that STAT. This pasta is one I’ve made several times, but finally perfected the process.

The key is to get the parmesan cheese to melt into a smooth sauce, and while this may not be 100% every time, I think it works really well. Just remember to save some of that salty pasta water. If you do that and grate your own parmesan chunk, you will be much happier with the result. I promise!

Why this recipe works:

  • Minimal ingredients. The main ingredients include pasta, broccoli, sausage, and parmesan cheese. The others are just a few seasonings, garlic, and the pasta water.
  • A simple process. Just two pans – one to cook the garlic/sausage and one to cook the pasta. Then you combine them and finish.Trust me, it’s simple!
  • Healthier pasta recipe. While pasta includes carbs, this recipe also includes healthy greens (broccoli!) and lean turkey sausage. No cream based sauce here either!
  • SO delicious! Amen.
A serving of the pasta with broccoli.

Ingredients needed for Rigatoni Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli:

You can keep most of these ingredients stocked in your pantry, and then pick up the fresh items at the last minute.

  • Rigatoni Pasta – I love this pasta shape with this recipe, but you could use something else as well.
  • Turkey Sausage – Use whatever flavor you like best. I used a spicy sausage which was excellent.
  • Broccoli – You will need a good portion of two heads of broccoli, but will cut off most of the stems.
  • Butter plus Olive Oil – These two ingredients are the base to the easy sauce for this pasta.
  • Garlic – The minced garlic adds so much flavor. I recommend using fresh garlic over the powdered version.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Use freshly grated parmesan for best results. The fresh stuff actually melts! 😀
  • Salt and Pepper – I always use kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. You will need plenty of salt for boiling the pasta.
  • Pasta Water – THIS is another very important part of this pasta recipe. Make sure you reserve some for the sauce!
  • Red Pepper Flakes – An optional ingredient, but makes it so good.
The ingredients for rigatoni with broccoli and sausage.

How to make Rigatoni with Broccoli:

This REALLY is the easiest pasta recipe. The important part is to reserve some pasta water and make sure you add plenty of parmesan cheese.

Step 1
PREP. Cut the broccoli into bite sized florets, trimming the stems off. Mince the garlic. Grate the cheese into a measuring cup.

Step 2
Brown the sausage. Remove the turkey sausage from the casings. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, until done. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or so.

A pot of the cooked turkey sausage with garlic and seasoning on top.

Step 3
Cook pasta. Fill a large stock pot about halfway with water. Bring to a boil, and add pasta, along with a good amount of salt. The salt is important to flavor the pasta AND the pasta water (that will be used later).

* After a few minutes, add the broccoli and bring it to a simmer (slow bubbles). Cook until pasta is al dente.

A stockpot of the pasta and broccoli in water.

Step 4
Drain and RESERVE PASTA WATER. When straining the pasta and broccoli, reserve one cup of pasta water, by placing a bowl under a colander.

Step 5
Finish pasta dish. Place the sausage back on the stove, and add the strained pasta and broccoli. Add the butter, half of the parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Stir well, and then add additional pasta water (about 1/2 cup more) and another 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese – and stir again.

Test pasta to see if there is enough salt, pepper, and add red pepper flakes, if desired.

Step 6
Serve. Serve the pasta with additional parmesan cheese and extra seasoning as needed.

Recipe FAQs

What is al dente?

When you bite into the pasta, and your teeth feel some resistance, but the pasta is still tender, you’ve reached al dente.

Freshly grated parmesan cheese vs. the powdered version?

Freshly grated parmesan cheese actually melts while the powdered version usually just clumps. We now stick to wedges of parmesan cheese only!

How long do you cook broccoli with pasta?

For this recipe, I cooked the pasta a few minutes before adding the broccoli. But you can add it the broccoli later for a crisper texture, if desired.

What to serve with Rigatoni Pasta and Broccoli:

A closeup on the rigatoni with broccoli recipe.

Kitchen Tools used for this recipe: (Affiliate Links)

xoxo ~Sue

A serving of the broccoli pasta, with a fork.

Rigatoni with Broccoli

Rigatoni with Broccoli is an easy weeknight meal, but impressive enough for a special occasion as well. This healthier pasta dish includes broccoli florets and a lean turkey sausage, with a simple sauce made with freshly grated parmesan. Make this one for your family soon!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 471kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound turkey sausage – removed from casings
  • 4-5 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta – or another type of pasta is fine
  • 8-10 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese – or about 2 cups
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • red pepper flakes – to serve

Instructions

  • PREP. Prepare broccoli by trimming the stems off, and cutting into bite sized pieces. Mince the garlic. Grate the cheese into a measuring cup.
  • Brown the sausage. Remove the turkey sausage from the casings. Cook in a skillet over medium heat, until done. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or so.
  • Cook pasta. Fill a large stock pot about halfway with water. Bring to a boil, and add pasta, along with a good amount of salt. The salt is important to flavor the pasta AND the pasta water (that will be used later).
  • After a few minutes, add the broccoli and bring it to a simmer (slow bubbles). Cook until pasta is al dente.
  • Drain and RESERVE PASTA WATER. When straining the pasta and broccoli, reserve one cup of pasta water, by placing a bowl under a colander.
  • Finish pasta dish. Place the sausage back on the stove, and add the strained pasta and broccoli. Add the butter, half of the parmesan cheese, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Stir well, and then add additional pasta water (about 1/2 cup more) and another 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese – and stir again.
  • Test pasta to see if there is enough salt, pepper, and add red pepper flakes, if desired.
  • Serve. Serve the pasta with additional parmesan cheese and extra seasoning as needed.

Notes

Freshly grated parmesan cheese actually melts while the powdered version usually just clumps. We now stick to wedges of parmesan cheese only!

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 733mg | Potassium: 589mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 863IU | Vitamin C: 83mg | Calcium: 321mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

4 Comments

  1. This was delicious! Loved the lighter version of the sauce. Will definitely be making this again!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Jena! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  2. This recipe is awesome and take advantage of the pro tip….. Serve with the Chewy French Bread!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yes please! 🙂

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