this is a very simple, yet perfect, weeknight dinner when time might be of the essence and ingredients are slimming down at the home front. what makes this recipe a bit easier than some is that the vegetables and sausage are roasted and you do not need to saute them on the stove. the roasting method adds a bit more flavor as well and the broccoli has more crunch. typically pork italian sausage is used, but we have a local company that makes a great turkey italian sausage that is packed with flavor and some heat. the turkey sausage helps with saving some calories and fat. the zesty ricotta dressing is a great final addition.
1/2 lb rigatoni
1 large head broccoli or two small, cut into florets
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb italian sausage links, casings removed and broken into 1 inch pieces
1 c ricotta
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
red chili flakes
preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
in a large pot, bring water to boil. add the pasta and cook per package instructions. reserve one cup of the cooking water for future use. drain the pasta and return to pot.
meanwhile, in a rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli and onion with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. nestle the sausage into the broccoli and onions. place into the oven and roast for roughly 20 minutes. be sure to toss at least once in order to brown all sides. when the broccoli is browned and tender’ and the sausage is cooked through, remove from the oven. toss the pasta with the roasted sausage and broccoli mixture and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. if the pasta seems a bit dry, add more of the cooking liquid.
place the pasta in serving dishes and top with a large spoonful of the ricotta dressing. sprinkle with fresh parsley and some fresh parmesan (optional).