My husband loves pasta, so I'm always whipping up some type of pasta dish for him. I like to find new shapes and mix it up. Orecchiette isn't a new shape, but I don't often buy it. The word orecchiette means "little ears" in Italian, so that's why I'm naming this pasta Little Ears Pasta. I could have named it by its ingredients, but I think pasta with Italian sausage, baby broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta salata is a bit long. So Little Ears Pasta it is!
What's ricotta salata, you ask? It's an Italian crumbling cheese made from sheep's milk. It's actually really tasty and a bit salty, which I love. It's similar to the Mexican cheese cotija. You could sub shaved Parmesan or feta cheese or really just whatever you want to do. You're eating it, so make it yours. This pasta is really easy and quick and (wait for it) darn tasty!
LITTLE EARS PASTA
1 lb orecchiette (or other small pasta)
2 shallots, chopped
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
1 lb baby broccoli, trimmed to just florets
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
One 11-ounce jar sundried tomatoes in oil, well drained
3 T tomato paste
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C red wine
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 C crumbled ricotta salata
NOTES: This isn't a real saucy pasta. It's a light coating of sauce. Also, as you can see from the picture, I didn't chop the sun-dried tomatoes which made it kind of a lot to bite into. I would suggest you at least cut them in half.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil into a large skillet and heat it to medium high. Cook the shallots for about a minute. Watch them carefully and stir frequently because they will burn quickly. Add in the Italian sausage and garlic. Cook and break up the sausage until it's cooked through. Add the wine to the pan and scrape up any browned bits. Add the broccoli, chicken stock, tomato paste, cream, sun-dried tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the skillet. Cook until the broccoli is soft and the sauce is slightly thickened.
Drain the pasta and return the pasta to the hot pot. Add the sausage mixture to the pasta and stir in the ricotta salata and serve.