Well I confess I lifted this one pretty directly from Smitten Kitchen. I was looking for some easy to make comfort food and came across this recipe. It took about an hour and a half from start to table. The deliciousness comes from sausage, mozzarella and Pec-Rom cheese. The virtuousness comes from the broccolini.
I was lucky enough to find a really good Italian pork sausage with fennel seed at Sonoma Market, which also had brocollini (also called broccoli rabe), to my surprise. You can substitute broccoli if you can’t find broccolini. The quality of the sausage is paramount, so it’s worth taking some time to find something better than the cooked pre-packs in the deli section.
The whole thing is very simple to make, so I’ll cut straight to the recipe.
Baked Pasta with Sausage and Broccolini
1lb chunky pasta. I used a mix, but anything with lots of edges works.
1lb sweet Italian sausage, skins removed
1 lb broccolini or broccoli, cut into 2″ lengths
1 cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano
6 oz dry mozzarella chopped into 3/4 inch cubes
2 cups full fat milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh grated nutmeg
Set the oven to 400F.
Cook the pasta in salted water, according to the directions on the pack, and add the broccolini 5 minutes before the end of cooking. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
At the same time, cook the Italian sausage in a little oil, breaking it up and browning it. Transfer to the bowl with the pasta. Add the mozzarella and half the pec-rom, mix well, and pour into a greased casserole dish.
Melt the butter in the sausage pot and whisk in the flour. Cook for about a minute and then whisk in the milk, gradually at first. Add the garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook on low, whisking often for about 10 minutes.
Check the seasonings, and then pour over the pasta mixture in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the rest of the pec-rom over the top.
Bake uncovered about 20 minutes, until the points are starting to brown. Switch on the broiler, and , watching carefully, allow the points to brown deeply.
Serve at once. This freezes well – reheat in a 300F oven.