Chicken Sausage Pasta with Broccoli with plenty of garlic, a hint of spice, and a creamy Parmesan sauce is ready in less than 30 minutes for an easy, comforting meal.
This easy Chicken Sausage Pasta dish comes together with just a few staple ingredients and can be made with any combination of sausage, pasta, and vegetables. It's the perfect meal for a busy weeknight.
This is one of those dishes that came together out of necessity and turned into something I will be making all the time. It really couldn't be easier to make and the chicken sausage does all the hard work of adding flavor to the pasta and broccoli.
With that said, since this chicken sausage pasta has limited ingredients, you want to make sure to use a really flavorful sausage. If not, you will likely need to kick up the spices to flavor the dish adding things like Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, fennel, sage, or other sausage style spices.
The other key to this easy pasta recipe is the pasta water. Make sure to save the salted pasta cooking water. It is the secret ingredient to making a silky sauce without needing lots of cream. Before draining the pasta, set aside about one cup of liquid to add to the dish.
Recipe Tips and Ideas
There are lots of ways to customize this recipe and make it work for your preferences and pantry. Here are some ideas:
- Try this recipe with different varieties of chicken or turkey sausage to switch up the flavor. Use sweet or spicy Italian sausage, an herb-infused sausage, apple sausage, really anything you like. It's really good wit apple sausage and summer squash.
- Similarly, you can switch up the vegetables to create different dishes or use a combination of different vegetables you have at home.
- Make this with any shape pasta you have on hand. Orecchiette is my favorite pasta shape for this dish but it is also delicious with spaghetti, rigatoni, penne, or really anything you have. You can also make this with whole wheat pasta or an alternative pasta made with chickpeas or lentils.
- For a lower carb option, make this with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
- Consider adding a can of diced tomatoes or some jarred pasta sauce to create a creamy tomato sauce.
- This can be made with ground chicken, sausage, or pork but you will need to add a bunch of extra spices to ensure the dish has good flavor.
Can I make this with pre-cooked chicken sausage?
This recipe can be made with chicken or turkey sausage links that come precooked. Start by heating up a little olive oil in a skillet and add the sliced sausage links. Brown them on both sides. This will help flavor the oil, which will add flavor to the whole dish. Make sure to use the oil since the pre-cooked sausage doesn't realize any liquid like ground sausage.
Then proceed with the recipe as written. Make sure to taste and season as it cooks since the precooked sausage doesn't release as much flavor as raw. For this reason, you may have to amp up the seasoning more than with ground raw sausage.
Can I use frozen broccoli?
This chicken sausage and broccoli pasta recipe will work just fine with frozen broccoli florets or frozen chopped broccoli. The only change will be that the broccoli will be softer since it won't have that fresh crispness. It also won't need quite as long to cook.
One note about frozen chopped broccoli. Although this is normally something reserved for broccoli casserole, it can be a great option here, especially with kids. The small pieces of broccoli help thicken the sauce and they kind of blend into every bite.
What other vegetables can be used in chicken sausage pasta?
Think of this recipe as a blueprint that you can make with all different types of vegetables, sausage, and pasta shapes. For vegetables, there are so many great options, both frozen and fresh. Here are some vegetables I love cooking with for this pasta.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Kale or spinach
- Butternut squash
- Shredded Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
- Summer squash
What if I forget to save the pasta water?
The hardest part of this recipe is remembering to reserve the pasta cooking liquid. If you have never used this technique before, the starchy salted pasta water combines with the fat (in this case from the sausage and butter) and creates a smooth, creamy sauce without needing lots of cream. This is the key to many restaurant pasta dishes that have a smooth, creamy sauce.
But what happens if you forget? According to Milkstreet, you can use a combination of water, cornstarch, and salt to recreate the starchy pasta cooking liquid. You could also add some chicken broth to your sausage and broccoli mixture and bring it to a boil to thicken it slightly before tossing with the pasta.
One last option is to use something thicker, like cream cheese or half and half, to finish the dish. You won't need a lot, just enough to create a sauce for the pasta.
More Sausage Pasta Recipes
Chicken Sausage Pasta with Broccoli
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- 1/2 lb chicken sausage (removed from casing if needed)
- 1 head broccoli, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 8 oz pasta
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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