Orecchiette is one of my favourite pasta since I was a child. It actually means ‘small ears’ and originated from the Italian region of Puglia (the heel of the boot). It is traditionally paired with rapini (Orecchiette alle cime di rapa) or a tomato based sauce with horse meat (Orecchiette con ragu’ di cavallo). However, since these ingredients are rarer and/or not appetising, I often see it paired with sausage, broccoli and chilli.
This is a veganised version of a recipe by Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef, which was adapted from Lidia Bastianich’s recipe found in Lidia’s Italian Table. I used Tofurky Sauage in place of Italian sausage as well as a salted organic vegan butter and vegetable stock. Jenn also uses Pecorino Romano, which is my favourite Italian cheese, but I held back, as I’m trying to go completely dairy free right now. There is plenty of flavour in this dish, so you really don’t need cheese or even a vegan cheese substitute. Of course, I tested this recipe on my meat and dairy loving partner, who approved of the flavours and didn’t add any sneaky cheese when I wasn’t looking. This recipe is quick and easy and of course delicious as well.
Orecchiette with Tofurky Sausage and Broccoli
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tofurky Sausage (I used Beer Brats), cubed
Florets from 1 head of broccoli
1-2 red chillies, remove seeds and sliced
1 cup vegetable stock
2-3 tbsp vegan butter (I used Funky Fields Organic Spreadable)
a drizzle of EVO or garlic infused EVO, to serve (optional)
1. First, boil salted water and cook orecchiette according to packet directions. Strain when cooked and leave to the side.
2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, then add garlic and sausage. Sauté for 2 minutes or until the sausages are browned. Remove from pan and put to the side.
3. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté red chillies and broccoli for a minute.
4. Add liquid stock to the pan and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until stock is nearly absorbed and broccoli is cooked.
5. Add sausage with garlic, cooked orecchiette and vegan butter. Let the butter melt to coat the pasta. Reheat for a minute if needed or serve immediately.