Rigatoni With Broccoli and Sausage

Serves 4.

Note: From “Six Seasons, A New Way With Vegetables,” by Joshua McFadden, with Martha Holmberg.

• 3 to 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

• Extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage, bulk or casings removed

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 8 oz. rigatoni (grooved tube-shaped pasta)

• 1 lb. broccoli, stems trimmed and peeled, stems sliced crosswise into 1/4-in. coins, and tops cut into florets

• 1/4 tsp. dried chile flakes

• 1/2 c. Whipped Ricotta (see recipe)

• About 1 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

• 1/4 c. dried breadcrumbs, optional

Directions

Put the garlic in a small bowl and pour over enough olive oil to cover. Shape the sausage into 4 balls, then flatten them each like hamburger patties.

Bring large pot of water to boil and add salt until it tastes like the sea. Add the pasta and cook to just shy of al dente (according to package directions).

Meanwhile, heat a small glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage patties and cook until nicely browned on one side, about 4 minutes.

Add broccoli coins and the sliced garlic, including the oil, to the skillet. Flip the sausage patties and keep cooking until the sausage is just about fully cooked (it’s OK if it’s a touch pink in the center because it will continue to cook a bit), another 4 minutes or so. Break up sausage with a spoon into bite-size chunks.

Add chile flakes and cook for 30 seconds or so. With a ladle or measuring cup, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the pasta’s cooking water, add it to the pan to stop the cooking of everything, and slide the pan from the heat.

About 3 minutes before the pasta should be al dente, add the broccoli florets and cook all together until pasta is ready. Scoop out another cup of pasta cooking water, drain pasta and broccoli, and add to the skillet.

Return skillet to heat. Add 1/4 cup or so of the pasta water, the Whipped Ricotta, and half the Parmigiano. Season generously with salt and black pepper. Shake the pan to combine the ingredients, put back over medium heat, and cook for a couple of minutes to warm everything through and make a nice saucy consistency. Serve with more Parmigiano and top with breadcrumbs, if desired.

Whipped Ricotta

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Note: From “Six Seasons,” by Joshua McFadden, with Martha Holmberg.

• 1 1/2 c. whole-milk ricotta cheese

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Directions

Put ricotta, salt and 20 twists of pepper in a food processor, and start to process. With motor running, add olive oil in thin stream. Pause and scrape down the sides if needed. The mixture should get creamy.

Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or even a bit more olive oil — you should be able to taste the oil as well as the ricotta. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.