By Tony Rosenfield
1 Lg. Broccoli crown, cut into 1 ½ inch florets
3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, skinned and crumbled into 1-inch pieces
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into thin strips
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice; more to taste
3/4 lb. dried orecchiette (or penne)
3 Tbs. grated Parmesan; more for serving
scallions (whites and greens), thinly sliced
Put a large pot of salted water to boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Blanch the broccoli in the boiling water until it softens to a tender crunch, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer it to the bowl of cold water.
Heat 2 TBSP of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the sausage and sauté, stirring, until it browns and is just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Put the pasta in the water. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium low; add the remaining 2 TBSP oil and the garlic. Season with salt and cook, flipping the pieces occasionally, until they start to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Raise the heat to high, drain the broccoli, and add it to the skillet, along with the sausage. Cook until everything is heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and thyme.
Finish cooking the pasta until it’s just tender, about 10 minutes total. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the broccoli. Raise the heat to high and toss well for 30 seconds. If the pasta appears dry, add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir in the lemon juice, Parmesan and scallions. Add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately, sprinkled with more Parmesan.