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Bow Tie Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli

5 from 20 community reviews

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A bow tie pasta recipe that checks all the boxes if you want to cook a quick, one-pan dinner. This dish combines bite-size bow tie (farfalle) pasta with Italian sausage, tomatoes, and broccoli (or broccolini) in a light, creamy sauce. It’s ready in 30-minutes!

Bow tie pasta dinner in a pan, in a creamy sauce with sausage and broccoli.

This bow tie pasta with ground sausage is a family dinner stand-by, right up there with another of my favorite pantry pasta recipes — chicken pesto pasta that cooks in 10 minutes.

I used bow-tie (farfalle) pasta, but you can use your favorite dried short pasta shape. The pasta is coated in a lightly creamy sauce, with chunky bits of sausage, tangy-sweet sun-dried tomatoes and tender quick-cooking broccolini.

Farfalle and bow-tie pasta

Bowtie pasta is an excellent all-around family-favorite shape. One of the best short noodle shapes, it resembles little bows or butterflies, and both kids and adults find them charming.

That’s why in Italian the pasta is called farfalle, which literally translates to “butterflies.” There’s no difference between farfalle pasta and bowties, they are exactly the same pasta shape.

Aside from being cute, bow ties are a great shape for a range of homemade pasta dinners, with different sauces and salads. The scalloped edges look pretty, but they also add a pleasant texture.

The distinctive pinch in the middle of the bow tie forms two little cups that are the perfect vehicle for sauce, cheese — basically all the yum.

An overhead photo of ingredients laid out on a cutting board, with bow tie pasta, raw sausage meat, dried tomatoes, grated cheese and broccolini.
Ingredients for weeknight pasta with sausage

Ingredients you need for the recipe

  • Italian sausage: Look for uncooked Italian-style seasoned sausage. You want to remove the casings or ask the butcher/meat counter to do it for you. Many stores seem to be packaging bulk sausage in all kinds of flavors. That makes this recipe even more convenient to make! Don’t eat meat? You can substitute an Italian-flavored vegetarian sausage.
  • Broccoli or broccolini: Get one large bunch (weighing about 12 ounces) or two small bunches of broccolini. Use the same amount of bite-size broccoli florets (frozen ones are fine).
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: I highly recommend seeking out dry-packed tomatoes that are soft and pliable and bright red in color. To me, they taste brighter and fresher and have a pleasant texture. Yes, you can definitely use oil-packed tomatoes if that’s what you have. Make sure you drain them well, and pat them with a clean towel before cooking.
  • Dried pasta: You’ll need 12 ounces of dried bow-tie pasta for this recipe, or use other short cuts such as penne, rigatoni or ziti.
  • Chicken broth: Choose a low-sodium brand or make a batch of homemade chicken broth.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated is the best!
  • Red pepper flakes: Adjust the amount to suit your taste.
  • Heavy cream
  • Yellow onion and fresh garlic
Ingredients for a bow-tie pasta recipe arranged on a cutting board with a knife, including chopped onion, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and baby broccoli florets.

Cooking steps:

After a few minutes of prep involving slicing onion, the dried tomatoes and trimming the broccolini stems you’re ready to get cooking.

  1. Cook the pasta: Put your pot or large saucepan of pasta water on the stove to boil and season with the correct amount of salt.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wide shallow pan or large skillet that will be large enough to hold all the food. I LOVE using my enameled cast iron everyday braiser pan shown in the photo! Just be sure it’s 12-inches or more in diameter and about 3-inches deep.
  3. Cook the sausage, then scoop it out to a plate, keeping the good, tasty fat in the pan for softening the onion. Add the sausage back in along with the remaining ingredients and simmer while the pasta cooks.
  4. Drain pasta and add to the pan. Cook at a gentle simmer 5-8 minutes, just until the sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Serve hot and enjoy with more grated Parm if you like!
A photo of a braising  pan on a surface, ready to serve cooked bow tie pasta in a sausage and broccoli sauce.

Tips for cooking perfect pasta

  • It’s usually good practice to follow the package directions for your brand of pasta when you’re wondering how long to cook it. Different pasta shapes have varied cooking times.
  • Bowties can typically take anywhere from 11-13 minutes to cook. But wait! In this recipe I actually want you to undercook the pasta just a little bit, as you would if making a pasta salad.

That’s because the almost-cooked, al dente pasta — which I calculated to take about 8 minutes in boiling water — will finish cooking after you toss it in the sauce. Not only does the pasta reach al dente perfection, but the starch in the pasta helps bind the sauce. Try it and you’ll be like WOW (that’s what I said the first time I tried this method).

Bow-Tie Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli

Karen Tedesco
A recipe that checks all the boxes if you want to cook a quick, one-pan pasta for dinner. This dish combines bite-size bow-tie pasta with Italian sausage, tomatoes, and broccoli (or broccolini) in a light, creamy sauce. It's ready in 30-minutes!
Print Pin
5 from 20 community reviews
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound (450 g) uncooked Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½-1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, to taste
  • ½ cup (55 g) moist sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 cups (480 ml) chicken broth
  • 1 bunch broccolini , stems trimmed, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 12 ounces (330 g) dried short pasta, such as penne, bowties or rigatoni
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (25 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to the water so that it tastes like the sea. I suggest 2-3 tablespoons per 4 quarts of water.
  • Place a wide pan (large enough for the pasta and sauce) over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil. Stir in the sausage and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes, breaking up the chunks with a spoon.
  • Transfer the meat to a plate with a slotted spoon (this will help keep the cooking fat in the pan). Add the onion to the pan along with a splash of water or broth, stirring to release any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook 1-2 minutes, until softened.
  • Stir in the ½ teaspoon salt, garlic, chili flakes and the tomatoes. Cook a few seconds, just until you can smell the garlic. Add the sausage back to the pan along with the broth and stir together. Bring the sauce to a simmer while you cook the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta in the boiling water for exactly 8 minutes. Set the timer! You want the pasta undercooked a tiny bit because it's going to finish cooking in the sauce. Add the broccoli or broccolini to the boiling water about 30 seconds before draining.
  • Add the pasta, broccoli, cream and Parmesan to the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high and simmer 5-8 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  • Serve warm in bowls, topped with additional Parmesan cheese.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

Tips and storage:

  • Instead of sun-dried tomatoes, substitute a pint of halved cherry tomatoes. 
  • Broccolini: Get one large bunch weighing about 12 ounces, or two small bunches. You can also easily use the same amount of bite-size broccoli florets (frozen ones are fine).
  • Bulk sausage is often sold at the meat counter.
  • For a vegetarian recipe, use your favorite Italian-style veggie sausage. Instead of browning the meat as in Step 2, cook the onion first then add your sausage with the tomatoes as in Step 3.
  • To store: Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to one month. Reheat with a tablespoon of liquid for each serving (such as broth, water, or cream).

Nutrition

Calories: 714kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Sodium: 946mg | Potassium: 722mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1247IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest
Recipe developer Karen Tedesco of the popular website Familystyle Food in her kitchen making a kale salad.

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

5 from 20 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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7 Comments

  1. Lisa Bitter says:

    5 stars
    So so unbelievably good!!! Made a separate small batch with some dairy free sauce for my littles and we all loved it so much.

  2. 5 stars
    Love, love love this dish! I didn’t have sun dried tomatoes so I used some crushed tomatoes. Still a really great meal! I loved the creamy goodness and spicy flavor.

  3. 5 stars
    The whole family loved this one! I upped the pasta to 16 oz and used 20 oz of broccolini. I had to add a tad more cream to accommodate those changes.

  4. Amy Casey says:

    5 stars
    I made this for one of my personal chef client families ~ they loved it and so did I! Such a great combination of flavors. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. 5 stars
    My kids loved this! Always good when you can find a new way to use broccolini so the kids won’t tire of it. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Teodora Grujic says:

    5 stars
    Nice idea for tomorrow’s family lunch! Looks delicious!