As promised....a recipe with actual vegetables! This is adapted from a dish my mom made when I was younger. Some of us like broccoli, and some don't, which is why I used it as a garnish (just on half - like a pizza!).
Penne With Broccoli And Italian Sausage
1 lb fresh Italian sausage (sweet, mild or hot depending on preference)
remove from casings if needed
4 cloves garlic
1 box Penne
1/8 cup Pine Nuts
1oz Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive oil (2 or 3 pieces)
Pecorino Romano cheese
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
couple of shakes red pepper flakes (optional)
1 TB butter (optional)
Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
Toast the pine nuts in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes (watch them! they burn so easily).
Throw the whole head (with stem)of broccoli in the boiling water for 5 minutes - then remove to cutting board.
Heat 2 TB olive oil in a large skillet and crumble the sausage meat into the oil until it starts to brown. Slice the garlic thinly and add garlic and pepper flakes, sauteeing until all meat is brown and slightly crisp.
Slice the sun dried tomatoes thinly and add with the pine nuts to sausage. Add a few more splashes of olive oil to be sure there will be enough to cover the pasta - I added a pat of butter at this point as well. Reduce to low heat and stir well.
Cook pasta as per box instructions and drain. Dice the broccoli (florets and stem). Use the pasta pot to combine the penne and the sausage mixture (coating each piece of penne well with oil), reserving a tiny bit of oil in the sausage pan. Throw the broccoli into the garlic-y oil and toss on low until warmed. Salt and pepper both - pasta and broccoli.
Pour pasta mixture into large mouthed bowl or wide deep dish and place the broccoli on top to one side. Top with a generous amount of shaved Pecorino Romano (serve with more at the table).
The penne takes on a great nutty flavor!