Orecchiette with Sausage is the upscale pasta dinner you’ve been craving! Tender orecchiette pasta is all dressed up with Italian sausage, broccoli and more. The delightfully simple sauce features key ingredients like wine, pecorino romano cheese and plenty of garlic!

A skillet filled with sausage and pasta is placed next to a small dish filled with red pepper flakes.

Orecchiette with Sausage

As much as I love the typical spaghetti and meatballs with marinara sauce, it’s fun to switch it up once in a while with something a bit fancier! Orecchiette pasta is fun to say and ever more fun to serve. I love the shape of it (the name of it means small ear) because of the way it really grips everything it’s served with. In this case, it holds on to ingredients like sausage, garlic, pecorino romano and more!

This is an ideal recipe for at home date nights, dinner parties, or even weeknight dinners with family. While it does require a little effort, every step of this process is super easy and it all comes together in no time. Also, while I usually do love a good cream based sauce, I also enjoy pasta dishes like this one that have a lighter sauce. You’ll find no heavy cream or cream cheese here.

Instead, the wine based sauce is flavored simply with garlic, red pepper flakes, pecorino romano and more. The simplicity of the sauce compliments the sausage and broccoli without totally overpowering everything on the plate! Plus, it doesn’t weigh you down the way a creamier sauce tends to. For tips on choosing all of the best ingredients in this classic dish, keep on scrolling!

A skillet filled with pasta and sausage is placed on a wooden placemat.

How to Make Orecchiette with Sausage

This seemingly fancy dinner comes together in just a few simple steps. Head down to the recipe card for more in depth ingredient measurements and step by step instructions!

  1. Cook the pasta. Boil a large pot of salted water. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
  2. Cook the sausage. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and let it start simmering. Once hot, add the Italian sausage and cook, breaking it apart as you go. Cook until it’s fully browned and no longer pink at all.
  3. Make it flavorful. Lower the heat to medium. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking for about 1 more minute. Stir the wine into the pan. Deglaze it by scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Then, mix in the red pepper flakes, broccoli and garlic powder. Continue cooking for a few more minutes until the broccoli is tender.
  4. Finish it off. Add the butter. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to reduce the sauce. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss to coat. Stir in the pecorino romano cheese, salt and pepper, then the pasta water. Cook for just 1-2 more minutes.

You can amp up the flavor by adding broccoli rabe in place of the broccoli for a true Italian classic.

A white bowl is filled with a single serving of orecchiette.

Tips for the Best Orecchiette with Sausage

Check out these quick tips and tricks before you start cooking:

  • Choose the right wine. The first rule of thumb is to only cook with a wine that you’d actually enjoy drinking a glass of. If you don’t like the taste of it in a glass, you won’t like it in your dinner. For this recipe, look for a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
  • Grate the cheese. The pecorino romano is best when it’s been freshly grated! While it may take a few extra minutes, it’s worth the time to freshly grate it yourself. Or, check with your grocery store deli and see if they sell it already freshly grated.
  • Remember the pasta water! Don’t drain the pasta without first reserving 1 cup of the water it cooked in. The starchy water is what you’ll need to create the best sauce.
A spoon is placed in a bowl filled with pasta and sausage.

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A skillet filled with sausage and pasta is placed next to a small dish filled with red pepper flakes.

Get the Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage and Broccoli Recipe

Classic Orecchiette with Sausage and broccoli is an easy weeknight dinner that comes together in just minutes.
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces Italian sausage
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 14 ounces finely chopped broccoli florets OR 1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough ends trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper


  • 1 large deep skillet


  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions, approximately 8 minutes.
  • In a larg skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Crumble to sausage into the skillet, breaking apart with a wooden spoon or spatula, and cook until golden brown and no longer pink, approximately 6-7 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the garlic continuing to cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the wine to the pan and deglaze by scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Stir in the red pepper flakes, broccoli and garlic powder. Cook until the broccoli is tender, approximately 3 minute.
  • Add the butter and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to reduce the sauce.
  • Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat.
  • Stir in the cheese, salt, pepper and reserved pasta water.
  • Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Season to taste and serve with grated cheese
Calories: 505kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 57mg, Sodium: 663mg, Potassium: 441mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 512IU, Vitamin C: 46mg, Calcium: 184mg, Iron: 2mg