Nate has told me before that the dinner he always looked forward to his mom making when he was growing up was pasta with sausage and tomato sauce, with broccoli and garlic bread. So when his 30th birthday was fast approaching, I knew this is the meal I would make for him.

However, when we were down at the shore visiting my parents the weekend before his bday, my mom made a delicious red sauce, and being that Nate’s bday was only a couple days later, I asked him for his next choice.

He told me his second favorite pasta sauce is a light garlic sauce. I immediately thought of a sausage and broccoli rabe combo…but Nate insisted on broccoli. And I’m not one to argue with the Birthday Boy.

*As some readers have pointed out, this sauce wasn’t actually a garlic sauce, but when I set out to make the recipe I thought it was. The sausage and chicken broth impart a seasoned/salty flavor that tastes a lot like a light garlic sauce but without all the oil. And if you really wanted, you’re more than welcome to add garlic!

I knew I wouldn’t have much time to cook when I got home from work, so I did all my market shopping the day before. It’s not like me to do this, but I bought some premade garlic bread…you know the one that comes in foil that you put right in the oven? It made my life a whole lot easier. This really came together super quickly and is perfect for dinner on a birthday, or any day of the year!

Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli
Adapted from Gourmet (3/06)

Print this recipe!

Makes 4-6 servings


cooking spray
1 lb italian turkey or pork sausage, casings discarded and sausage crumbled
1/2 lb broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
3/4 lb dried pasta (whatever shape you desire)
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving

Spray a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausage, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water. When pasta is al-dente, remove using a slotted spoon and set aside. Add broccoli to the pasta water and blanch, 1 min.  Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain broccoli in a colander.

Add broccoli to sausage in skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 1-2 min. Add broth, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water to skillet, tossing until combined. Stir in cheese and thin with additional cooking water if desired.

Serve immediately, with additional cheese on the side.


  1. The birthday boy must have loved the special meal you made for him.

  2. Nate has great taste! I love broccoli with my pasta, and sausage with a light garlic sauce sounds delicious.

  3. awww i love how you made dinner for him on his bday rather than going out to eat! whoohoo! and yes, i was wondering where the garlic sauce was, but just read your comment post!

  4. Looks simple and delicious to me!

  5. I had catching up to do on your blog! I’m looking for any type of meal that doesn’t require an oven…I’m back to my simplistic college living cooking :) Looks like you’ve put together yet another winner!

  6. What a coincidence, I was going to make the same thing for dinner today, exact ingredients and all!! I’ve made this before and my daughter actually asked that I make this today. Great minds think alike!!

  7. How nice of you to prepare this thoughtful meal for the birthday boy. I really like the switch-up with turkey in sausage instead of pork. A nice change. Your broccoli looks fresh and the whole dish delish! (yes, I would definitely add plenty of garlic – yum! :) )

  8. One of the (only) best meals that my mom makes is a broccoli rabe and sausage and garlic pasta sauce…so I can tell that Nate has good taste!

  9. What a great birthday meal! I’m all about the light garlic sauces too, as they’re not super heavy and filling. I’m sure Nate loved this dish. :)

  10. Pasta dishes are always tops on my list and I love finding new sauce ideas especially when mixed with veggies!

    • I know…veggies are the best way to bulk up a meal so you can eat more for less calories :) You could def add more broccoli or other veggies to this…I think it would still be delicious!

  11. I make something very similar often, except with lots of garlic and chili pepper flakes. I love turkey/chicken sausage with broccoli and pasta!

    • Mmm! I wish my bf liked spicy things, because I would def add red pepper too. I love turkey/chicken sausage in general…i think it’s better than the pork kind!

    • P.S. I tried to comment on your blog and my comments arent’ showing up! :( Do they have to be approved first? I’ve had this happen on some other blogs to and I dunno what’s wrong!!!

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