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Bulk Italian Sausage and Broccoli Sausage Pasta | Make Ahead Mondays

Homemade Bulk Italian Sausage is so simple and so much better than store-bought. Keep a stash of it in the freezer at all times so you can whip up this fast, fabulous weeknight favourite- Broccoli Sausage Pasta. You'll love this hearty, crowd-pleasing dish of garlicky, spicy, crisped Italian sausage, crisp-tender broccoli and rotini with a generous handful of grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.
Author Rebecca Lindamood

Ingredients

To Make the Bulk Italian Sausage:

  • 8 pounds freshly ground pork shoulder {*See Notes} or purchased ground pork.
  • 18-26 peeled garlic cloves depending on how garlicky you like your sausage.
  • 8 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2-5 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes depending on how spicy you like your sausage.
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt you can adjust upward, but this is the minimum amount you should use.

To Make the Broccoli Sausage Pasta:

  • 1 pound Bulk Italian Sausage
  • 1 pound rotini or other shaped pasta
  • 12 ounces to 1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli florets The pictured dish used 12 ounces of frozen baby broccoli florets.
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or water preferably
  • grated Romano or Parmesan cheese to taste

Instructions

  1. https://www.foodiewithfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Bulk-Italian-Sausage-ready-for-the-freezer-from-Foodie-with-Family.jpgAdd the pork to a large mixing bowl. Add the garlic cloves, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper flakes and salt to the bowl of a food processor (or pile it together on a large cutting board.) Process until the garlic is broken down very finely and is almost paste-like. If you are using a cutting board, chop them all together until the garlic is almost paste-like.
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  3. Scrape the mixture over the pork and use your hands to blend well. Test the sausage spice mixture by forming a quarter sized patty and frying it in a pan. Taste the test sausage. If you need to, adjust the spices and salt.
  4. Divide the sausage into 4 gallon sized freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as you can before mostly sealing the bag (leaving just a corner open to allow air to move out.) Gently push the sausage flat and fill the entire bag. Once the bag is filled to the corners, seal the little bit of the bag that you left open. Use the long handle of a wooden spoon to press a line down the middle of the bag from top to bottom, leaving a ridge in the sausage. Turn the spoon handle perpendicular to that line and press down about 1/3 of the way from the bottom of the bag and again at about 1/3 of the way from the top of the bag. This will leave 6 "rectangles" of sausage.
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  6. Lay the bag on a flat baking sheet, repeat with the remaining freezer bags of sausage and put the pan in the freezer. This will store well for up to six months before beginning to lose flavour.
  7. You can open the bag and break off as many rectangles of frozen sausage as you need.

To Make the Broccoli Sausage Pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed, large skillet, break up and cook the Italian sausage over medium high heat until it is crispy and browned but still moist. If it is excessively oily, feel free to drain some of the fat, but do leave some in to help coat the pasta. The flavour is wonderful!
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  4. Add the broccoli florets and the chicken stock or water, scrape up the lovely brown sausagey bits from the pan, cover and steam until the broccoli is crisp tender. While the broccoli is steaming, cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. Strain the pasta and add it to the pan with the broccoli and sausage. Toss to distribute evenly and serve immediately generously doused with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

You can use a food processor or meat grinder to grind your own pork for this project if you wish. I prefer to buy bone-in pork shoulder and remove the bone myself. This cut is perfect just as it is, and aside from taking out that bone, needs no further prep work other than cutting it to fit into the grinder or food processor. It is the perfect sausage-cut because of its natural marbling.