An easy weeknight orecchiette recipe with broccoli, spicy sausage, and a simple cream sauce.
I’m writing to you from Home Sweet Oregon, where I’m planning out nearly six weeks of West Coast travel and tours and recipes (and plotting a schedule to hit all of my favorite restaurants before I hop a plane back to New York).
It’s been a strange and stressful (but kind of wonderful) couple of months since I finished my Master’s. Immediately after graduating I launched into the crazy 4-week pre-SSBC15 stretch, which was insane and incredible all at once. When the conference wrapped, I suddenly found myself with a schedule that was all my own.
Because SSBC15 came so quickly after grad school, I made the decision sometime around February that I would wait to look seriously for full-time work until after New Orleans. I’m so glad I did that – it meant that I had to be smarter about spending so I could stretch my money out through the summer, but looking back on it I can’t imagine the conference going nearly as smoothly if I hadn’t had that few weeks to throw myself into it 150%.
Then, just before the conference, I made the decision to give my online business (which includes the blog as well as graphic design contracts, marketing consulting work, and The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project) my full-time attention.
I’m still trying to figure out what full-time blogging looks like for me. Since the conference, I’ve been pulling myself back into both Life As A Strawberry and our regularly scheduled SSBP programming. I’ve been taking on some consulting work for clients in the startup and nonprofit sectors, which I’m loving, and I’m taking the time to work harder on developing this site and its content than I’ve ever been able to before.
It’s amazing how much work you get done when you’re not writing a thesis or running back and forth between classes or planning a conference or passed out from exhaustion, y’know?
I don’t know how long this will be my new norm. As my regular readers know, I always feel drawn back to food security work and hunger issues. And if the right full-time opportunity comes along, I’ll take it.
But in the meantime, I’m enjoying the freedom of being my own boss and putting the right amount of time into some new and exciting projects. I hesitate to call it a leap of faith, because to be honest, whether or not the added time I put into my business will translate to a sufficient salary is still a huge question mark. But it feels like the right time to give it a whirl.
So I guess let’s just call it a leap of curiosity.
I’m taking my time and being strategic about the moves I’m making with this blog, my consulting work, and the SSBP – and I’m kind of loving it.
This spicy sausage and broccoli orecchiette is one of those recipes that I got to take my time writing and styling and shooting. It’s incredibly easy – it comes together in just 30 minutes! – and is packed full of rich flavor. It’s been my go-to dinner over the last few weeks of long work days, and I love the way the richness of the cream and parmesan complement the spicy sausage and red pepper flakes.
This was one of those dishes that I ate while I crunched numbers and looked at boring job listings and thought to myself, “what if I did this online business thing? I mean really did it?” So, in a weird way, it feels kind of like a comfort food even though I’ve only made it a handful of times.
It feels like one of those foods – a catalyst for one of those moments – when you feel like you’re right where you’re supposed to be.
(Also, it tastes really, really good).Print
An easy pasta recipe with broccoli, spicy sausage, and a simple cream sauce.
- ½ lb. spicy Italian sausage
- ½ lb. orecchiette pasta
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add sausage to skillet. Break sausage up with a wooden spoon and cook for 7-10 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
- Cook the orecchiette in very salty water. When the pasta is 2-3 minutes away from being al dente, add the broccoli florets to the water to cook.
- When pasta is al dente, drain broccoli and pasta and set aside.
- Return pasta pot to stove, add cream, and heat cream over medium heat until simmering.
- Remove cream from heat and add pasta, broccoli, cooked sausage, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese and stir until cheese has melted.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Use quality parmesan cheese here – pre-shredded cheese is often treated with preservatives that prevent it from melting smoothly into a sauce. I like to buy a nice block of parmesan and shred it myself with a microplane or cheese grater.
Add any veggies you like to this pasta or swap the sausage out for chicken to switch it up!
Use ¼ cup stock, milk, or pasta water in place of ¼ cup of the cream to lighten this recipe up a little.