I have been making this family favorite for years and am so excited to share it with you! There is nothing better than a meal coming together in under 30 minutes – tasty Italian sausage, broccoli florets, Parmigiano Reggiano and a little bit of heavy cream meld together to create one of the best weeknight pasta dishes! My whole family loves this orecchiette pasta recipe and is always asking for seconds!

What is Orecchiette?

This darling type of pasta is often referred to as ‘little ears’ and can be found at your local grocery store. It’s usually about the size of your thumb and its little folds and ridges are perfect for catching all the yummy sauce. If you have a hard time finding this you can always substitute other pasta shapes such as farfalle or fusilli, the more shape and dimension it has the better.

Simple Ingredients

This Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli recipe only calls for a handful of simple ingredients and feels fresh and light – plus you will only need a few minutes of prep time making it an easy weeknight dinner!

Ingredients : Orecchiette Pasta, Parmesan Cheese, Garlic Cloves, Chicken Stock, Italian Sausage, Olive oil, Broccoli


You can have a few options when it comes to which type of sausage to use in this recipe and can decide based on your personal preference. I usually opt for a sweet or mild Italian pork sausage since I usually have children who are eating this. If you don’t mind a little heat then try a spicy Italian sausage! I have also made this orecchiette pasta dish with a sweet Italian chicken sausage and while it was still delicious it did not provide the full-fat content needed to truly build the sauce. If you buy 2 pounds of sausage you can try our Sausage Breakfast Casserole too!


It is amazing how much broccoli you can pack into this delicious dinner and it all gets devoured! I typically use two large heads of regular broccoli and cut the florets into bite-sized small pieces. You could also try this great recipe using a bitter broccoli rabe which would be a more expensive option. (Pro Tip: if you have really picky eaters, chop up the broccoli as small as you can and they wont even know its in there.)

Broccoli cut into bit sized pieces in a bowl

Al Dente Pasta

It is super important to make sure you do not overcook your orecchiette since it will continue to soften once you add it to your large skillet with all the other ingredients. After it has been in the boiling water for 5-7 minutes you will want to start checking it. 

How to make Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli

  • Heat a large pot of salted water over medium-high. Add the orecchiette once your water is boiling. 
  • In a deep large skillet, let’s get your sweet sausage (or hot sausage) cooking over medium heat.
  • Add two minced cloves of garlic to the skillet.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of flour to the skillet and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. This addition will help your sauce bind and make it creamier.
  • Add the chicken stock (or chicken broth) and heavy cream and stir to combine over medium-high heat.
  • Add in your broccoli florets and reduce the heat to low allowing to simmer.
  • Once your orecchiette has reached that perfect al dente state, use a slotted spoon to move it into the large skillet with all the other ingredients.
  • Make sure you reserve some of the pasta water – I usually add 1/4 of a cup but you might need a little more.
  • Add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan and let everything simmer for an additional 1-2 minutes while the sauce and flavors meld.
  • Serve your sausage broccoli orecchiette with plenty of parmesan cheese and I love to add a little sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a little kick!

Leftovers you will love

This delicious recipe will knock your socks off the first time you have it BUT it is just as good when reheated the next time! Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I would not recommend freezing this dish as the cooked pasta does not thaw well – and I promise you won’t have enough left to even want to freeze it! Let us know what you think of the recipe and any fun variations you come up with!

Orecchiette pasta topped with italian sausage, broccoli, and shredded parmesean cheese

Sausage Broccoli Orecchiette

An easy sausage broccoli orecchiette recipe you're going to love!

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  • 3 cups orecchiette pasta
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 heads fresh broccoli cut into small florets
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese divided
  • red pepper flakes if desired


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • In a deep skillet cook sausage on medium-high heat.
  • Add garlic and cook.
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of flour to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes,
  • Add the orecchiette pasta to your boiling water and cook till al dente.
  • Add the chicken stock and heavy cream. Stir over medium-high heat.
  • Add your broccoli florets and stir. Reduce to low heat.
  • Add the cooked orecchiette to the large skillet with 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
  • Add half of the parmesan cheese and stir. Allow everything to simmer together for a few minutes.
  • Serve with additional parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes if desired.


Calories: 1104kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 43g, Fat: 74g, Saturated Fat: 32g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 29g, Cholesterol: 177mg, Sodium: 1472mg, Potassium: 1547mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 2987IU, Vitamin C: 274mg, Calcium: 440mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.