Broccoli, black olives and goat cheese. Do these things go together? Why, yes they do. I’ve always found that fancy, oil-cured black olives lend a nice salty brininess to broccoli. Goat cheese and olive oil give this sauce a sumptuous creaminess to balance out the saltiness.
I was tempted to call this a pesto, but I thought that wouldn’t go over too well with pesto purists. That said, the method is very similar. Steam the broccoli, then blend it with olive oil, black olives, goat cheese and a pinch of salt. What you get looks more like a dip than a sauce, but mixed with some pasta water, you get a velvety, creamy sauce flecked with bright green broccoli that’s a little tangy and really delicious.
I tossed the sauce with whole wheat pasta and some browned Italian Sausage for a wholesome and filling lunch. Serve this with a big, green side salad and you’ve got a delicious weeknight meal. Just make sure your dishwasher’s empty — this bad boy makes loads of dishes. Thank God I’ve got a wonderful hub to take care of those pots and pans for me!
Pasta with Italian Sausage & Broccoli, Black Olive, Goat Cheese Sauce
Simply omit the sausage or add some baked tofu for a vegetarian dish or side dish.
1/2 cup water
4 cups broccoli florets (about 3 large heads broccoli)
4 Italian Sausages, casings removed (I used turkey sausage)
1 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted (the kind in a jar, not a can)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 oz. goat cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. Whole Wheat Pasta (your favorite shape)
Fresh Parmesan cheese for grating
Special Equipment: Food Processor or Blender
Set a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat and add the water. Once it comes to a simmer, add the broccoli, cover and let steam for 2 – 3 minutes, until bright green and tender, but not mushy. Remove the broccoli into you food processor’s cup with a slotted spoon and discard the water.
Use the same skillet to brown the sausage. While it browns, set a large pot of water to boil and make your pesto. When the water comes to a rapid boil, salt it generously and add your pasta.
Add the olives, olive oil, garlic, goat cheese and salt to the food processor cup and pulse until smooth (about 30 seconds). If the sausage is browned and cooked through, remove from heat.
When the pasta is almost al dente, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain. Toss the pasta with the cooking water and broccoli/olive/goat cheese mixture until everything is well-coated and the broccoli mixture becomes a sauce. Stir in the sausage and serve with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 – 6 servings.