Recipe: One-Pot Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Arugula (video)

This is a recipe I discovered recently from my buddy, Chef John, over at, and despite my doubt over the cooking technique - cooking the dry pasta entirely in the sauce - it came out really well! Who knew?

The recipe is very easy to adapt for any number of people. I used 2 cups of pasta and 5 sausages for 3 people (one of whom was a hungry teenager) and it was really easy! I also swopped out the orecchiette pasta for farfalle (also called butterfly or bowtie pasta) as my local store doesn't carry orecchiette. Use whatever small pasta you have in the pantry. It's great for using up those half-empty boxes of pasta...just be sure to use one with lots of nooks and crannies to catch all the sauce.

Easy Substitutions

This dish can also be made with sweet sausage or a combination of sweet and spicy sausages for a different flavor profile. And baby spinach or baby kale would be delicious as well.

The secret to this dish is to start with a deep sauce pan or pasta pot and to stir continuously throughout the cooking time. The method is very much like risotto in that sense. I had the movie Searching for Nemo in my head except instead of Dory's line, "just keep swimming", I was saying, "just keep stirring!" Whatever works, right?

Great for Travel or College Students

This would make a great one-pot dinner for a ski weekend, a camping adventure or boating! The dish is rich, saucy, spicy and very satisfying! Add a loaf of crusty fresh bread, a crisp, green salad and a hearty red wine for the full affect. Super fast to make for a late night treat or quick week night dinner for busy students or professionals.

Try it tonight and let me know how yours comes out!

Recipe: One-Pot Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Arugula

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves 2 for dinner, 3 for lunch and 4 as a starte

Recipe: One-Pot Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Arugula

A great one-pot dish for hungry college students, ski trips, camping or boating. Rich, spicy, satisfying and healthy too with all those delicious greens!


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 8 ounces spicy Italian sausage
  • about 3 1/2 cups unsalted or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 generous cup orecchiette pasta
  • salt to taste
  • 2 large handfuls roughly chopped arugula or other greens (if using something like rapini, add earlier so it has time to cook through.
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


  1. Sauté the onions in olive oil until they just start to turn light brown.
  2. Remove the sausage from the casing by slicing open the sausage and peeling back the thin membrane.
  3. Add the sausage to the onions and use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up. Continue cooking and stirring until the sausage is a rich, brown color. The dark bits on the pan add fabulous flavor so you want that!
  4. Add a cup and a half of the stock (or broth), stir to deglaze all the bits on the bottom of the pan and bring it up to a low boil.
  5. Add the dry pasta and stir well. Continue stirring until most of the stock has been absorbed. Add more stock, raising the heat to bring it up to temperature, then lower the heat to medium as the stock is absorbed. Continue until all the stock has been added.
  6. Continue stirring the whole time so the pasta cooks evenly and doesn't stick together.
  7. Taste-test the pasta to determine when it is just al dente (still firm to the bite). It will take slightly longer than the package directions but keep an eye on it. As the pasta cooks, it will release starch which will help to create a rich, gravy-like sauce with all the flavor of the spicy sausage.
  8. Add the rough-chopped arugula and stir to combine. The greens will start to wilt beautifully as they heat up. Don't over cook them! You want them to be bright green when served.
  9. Divide into bowls or plates.
  10. Add a generous dusting of real Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


Easy substitutions: Spinach or baby kale for arugula sweet Italian sausage or a combination of sweet and spicy Italian sausage

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