I can’t tell you how quick and easy this dish is to make and it works as a stand alone since it has everything you need in one dish.  Flavour, greens and carbs!  It goes very nicely with South African Shiraz.  It’s surprisingly impressive given how easy it is to make, every time I cook this for my friends I get asked for the recipe afterwards.  The key is to get good sausages with fennel.


Serves 6, prep time 10 mins, cooking time 15-20 mins.

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 6 sausages, preferably with fennel seed (you can always add a teaspoon of fennel seeds if you can’t find them)
  • Bag of dried orecchiette pasta
  • Glass of the white wine you’re serving as an aperitif
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (Slightly sharper flavour than Parmesan, but if you can’t find it Parmesan will do)
  • Salt & pepper


How to make this

Separate the broccoli florets from the stems.  Leave the floret clusters whole unless they’re especially large, then cut them in half.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over a high heat.

Throw in the broccoli florets and cook for 3 minutes.

Drain the broccoli well and chop it coarsely. (Top up the pot with more hot water and return it to the boil.)

Slice the garlic and remove the skins from the sausages – it can be messy depending on the sausages, but try to get all the meat out – it will be worth it.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, or a wok, over moderate heat. Add the sausage meat (and fennel) and cook, crumbling it with a wooden spoon, until it loses its pink colour.

Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté briefly.  This should all take less than ten minutes.

Add the cooked broccoli and season well with salt and pepper.

Pour in a glass of white wine and some of the broccoli water to make it liquid enough so that it’s easy to mix into the pasta.  Lower the heat under the wok until the pasta is cooked.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook it until it’s just shy of al dente (1 to 2 min. less than the suggested cooking time).

orecchiette, south african wine, shiraz, food and wine pairing

Orecchiette pasta

When the pasta is cooked add it to the wok and stir all together with half the cheese.

Serve in warm bowls and have the rest of the cheese on the table so people can help themselves to more.

A good wine to serve with this would be a Shiraz.  Its dark blackberry fruit with spicy flavours will work well with the gamey taste of the sausages.  We really like Drostdy-Hof Shiraz with it, which is found pretty much nationwide and is really reasonably priced.