Sicilian Broccoli Pasta with Sausage and Chard.

Sicilian Broccoli Pasta with Sausage and Chard.

My Sicilian hubby introduced me to pasta with broccoli and it really was love at first bite! Since then, I have eaten different versions of this typical Southern Italian dish. All delicious, but this Sicilian broccoli pasta with sausage and chard is definitely one of my favourites! It’s super tasty and healthy too, especially if you make it with organic ancient grain pasta from Sicily, as I did!

Sicilian Broccoli Pasta with Sausage and Chard. Organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta

Pasta con Broccoli, Salsiccia e Bietole

Broccoli pasta is a very  traditional in Southern Italy. You can find different versions of it in most of the South Italian regions particularly Sicily, Puglia, Calabria and Campania. It is most often made without meat. But, when meat is added, it’s usually sausage meat.

(Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. I have not been compensated for writing this post and all opinions are mine but I may earn commission if you purchase products through the affiliate link on this post)

Sicilian Broccoli Pasta with Sausage and Chard. Organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta

Other versions of Sicilian broccoli pasta.

In Sicily, the most traditional version of pasta with broccoli is called ‘pasta con i broccoli ‘arriminati’. ‘Arriminati’ simply means mixed. It refers to the fact that the broccoli and pasta are mixed together in the pan before serving. This recipe is also made with cauliflower. Typical Sicilian pasta with broccoli doesn’t include meat, but often has anchovies in it. It also usually includes sultanas, pine nuts, saffron and toasted breadcrumbs.

Ingredients for Sicilian Broccoli Pasta with Sausage and Chard.

The Pasta.

Traditionally, Sicilian broccoli pasta is often made with bucatini. However, many people use short pasta tubes such as penne, rigatoni or short ziti. I used organic tortiglioni (tortiglioni is very similar to elicoidale or rigatoni) This tortiglioni was made with an ancient Sicilian grain called ‘Russello’. This pasta was sent to me to try by a company called Us Authentic Italian Experience. They sell this tortiglioni, other types of ancient grain pasta and some delicious Sicilian food products in the US, Canada and Europe. I was already a fan of organic ancient grain pastas and have posted a couple of other recipes with these types of pasta. So, I was thrilled to be asked to review this brand.

Organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta

Is pasta healthy?

I know there are people (not normally Italians) who don’t think pasta is healthy! But, there is pasta and there is PASTA! Mass produced pasta may not be healthy, especially if produced with flour made from wheat that has been sprayed with all kinds of nasty things like the herbicide Glysophate! In fact, although the pasta you buy may be ‘made in Italy’, the wheat used is not always Italian! So, in reality, despite the fact that Glysophate is banned in Europe, some Italian pasta and a lot of foreign made pasta contain it!

broccoli, leeks and chopped sausage in frying pan

Organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta

But, there is lots of healthy pasta out there! At the top end of the healthy pasta scale is organic pasta made in Sicily with ancient grains. Ancient grains, also called heritage grains, are ancient varieties of wheat which haven’t been altered to produce higher yields. These grains lost popularity with producers because they have a lower yield and thus production costs are higher. However, pasta and other wheat products made with heritage grains are becoming more and more popular again. This is because apart from being healthier, they are better tolerated by people who have problems with gluten!

If you are interested in trying some of this organic Sicilian ancient grains pasta check out the Us Authentic Italian Experience online shop. Use the coupon code THEPASTAPROJECT and get a 10% discount!

chard leaves with ice and olive oil in blender

Why I liked this organic pasta.

Russello, the wheat used to make the tortiglioni in this Sicilian broccoli pasta with sausage recipe, is an ancient Sicilian wheat variety that is very digestible and healthy. I have yet to try other pasta from Us Authentic Italian experience (they sent me a few packets, plus a meal kit which includes pesto made in Sicily), but the tortiglioni was exceptionally good. It has a slightly nuttier taste than white pasta. I guess because it’s whole wheat. A bit like the difference between white bread and whole wheat bread. I especially liked the fact that it held together so well with cooking! I’ve tried a number of artisan pasta types that fell apart in the boiling water! I’m not kidding! Of course, I haven’t posted about them on The Pasta Project!

toasted pine nutsThis version of Sicilian broccoli pasta.

This version of Sicilian broccoli pasta is a little different from the one I mentioned above. Firstly it contains sausage meat. Sicilians usually use sausages made with fennel but you can use normal Italian pork sausage and add some fennel seeds if you wish. This Sicilian broccoli pasta doesn’t have saffron or sultanas, but does have pine nuts and garlicky toasted bread crumbs (yum!). In Sicily, they often use toasted breadcrumbs, which they call ‘mollica tostata’, on pasta dishes instead of grated cheese.

garlicky toasted breadcrumbs

A healthy pasta dish!

This recipe also includes a wonderful puree of chard. Chard is very popular in Italy. In fact, it has been cultivated here since the times of Ancient Rome. Although commonly known as chard or Swiss chard, it is actually also called Sicilian beet or Roman kale! Chard is super healthy, as is broccoli. So, this is a dish that’s got so much goodness in it! Apart from the chard and broccoli, there is also leeks, and garlic and, of course, the organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta! I know you may not consider the sausages as healthy but we all need protein and sausage in pasta is so good that it wouldn’t be the same without it!

Sicilian Broccoli Pasta with Sausage and Chard.

If you make this Sicilian broccoli pasta with sausage and chard recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. So, please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.

Buon appetito!

Some other pasta recipes from Sicily to try

  1. Pasta alla Norma
  2. Spaccatelle with Sicilian sun dried tomato pesto
  3. Reginette with swordfish, eggplant and mint
  4. Pasta with prawns, almonds and bottarga

Are you interested in trying some organic Sicilian ancient grains pasta? Then check out the US Authentic Italian Experience online shop. Use the coupon code THEPASTAPROJECT and get a 10% discount!

(Disclosure: I haven’t been compensated for writing this article and all opinions are my own but I may be compensated if you buy products through the affiliate link. However, this helps me cover my blog costs and keep it going! So thank you!)

Sicilian Broccoli Pasta with Sausage and Chard. Organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta

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5 from 28 votes
Sicilian Broccoli Pasta with Sausage and Chard. Organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta
Sicilian broccoli pasta with sausage and chard
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr

A delicious traditional Sicilian recipe made with sausage and chard and organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, Sicilian, Southern Italian
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, broccoli, broccoli pasta, chard, heritage grains, organic pasta, sausage pasta, Sicilian pasta
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 400 g Tortiglioni pasta (14oz) or rigatoni, elicoidale or other pasta tubes. I used organic Sicilian ancient grain tortiglioni
  • 300 g Italian pork sausage (10oz) with fennel if available
  • 1-2 leeks finely chopped
  • 1-2 heads broccoli (depending on the size)
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 100 g pine nuts (3.5 oz)
  • 100 g breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil as required
  • salt for cooking veg and pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 ice-cube
Prepare the ingredients
  1. Wash the broccoli and cut into florets. Wash the chard and remove most of the stalk. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Wash and finely chop the leeks. Remove the skin from the sausage. Chop the sausage meat.

Start cooking
  1. Cook the broccoli for just 4-5 minutes in a large pan of boiling salted water. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon but keep the water as you can use it to cook the chard and pasta.

  2. Finely chop the leeks and brown in a frying pan or skillet with a little of the olive oil. Add the broccoli to the leeks, stir and leave to simmer on a medium heat. Add a ladle or two of the broccoli cooking water as it starts to dry out.

  3. In a separate frying pan, dry fry the sausage meat until nicely browned. You don’t need to add oil as the sausages contain enough fat.

  4. In another frying pan, dry toast the pine nuts. When they are ready, put them into a bowl and then heat a little olive oil in the same pan. Add the garlic and cook until slightly soft. Toast the breadcrumbs with the chopped cloves of garlic. 

  5. Add the sausage to the broccoli and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer for a little while. You can add a ladle or two more of the broccoli cooking water if it seems dry. As the broccoli and sausage cook you can break them up into smaller pieces if you want. (I kept them quite big) 

  6. Blanch the chard in the broccoli cooking water and then remove the leaves from the water and blend in an electric blender with the ice and a little olive oil until well pureed. Keep aside.

Finish the dish
  1. Cook the pasta in the boiling broccoli cooking water. Once it is al dente, drain and add to the broccoli and sausage! Add half the chard puree and mix everything together well.

  2. Spread some of the remaining chard puree over the bottom of each plate. Place a serving of the pasta with broccoli and sausage on each plate. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and garlicky toasted breadcrumbs. Serve immediately. 

Recipe Notes

This dish can be made with other types of pasta tubes. But I recommend using whole wheat pasta as it adds a different flavour. You can also add a little peperoncino (red chili pepper) for a bit of kick! Add the peperoncino to the broccoli and leeks while cooking them together. 

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Sicilian broccoli pasta with sausage and chard

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  • Avatar
    Adriana Lopez Martin
    November 19, 2018 8:24 am

    what a great combination fo flavors and a good change to not use a marinara sauce. Love the addition of the toasted pine nuts so yummy!

  • Avatar
    Anna Hettick
    November 19, 2018 5:05 am

    First, this recipe looks super delicious! Second, I am super glad I read this article! No joke, I had no idea about the differences in pasta and how some past can be healthy! Great info!

  • Avatar
    Chef Mireille
    November 18, 2018 8:12 pm

    looks like the perfect comfort food kind of meal..and with that ancient grain pasta added health value benefits also

  • Avatar
    November 17, 2018 9:41 pm

    It’s been a long time since I decided to try organic pasta. And just like with anything else it is always a challenge to chose the right product. You can’t imagine how happy I was to find this post on your blog because I know what to look for now! Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Karyl Henry
    November 17, 2018 3:53 pm

    This dish looks fabulous! I’ve never heard of this pasta shape, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for it…I can already come up with some great ways to use it

  • Avatar
    November 17, 2018 12:13 am

    I love a healthy pasta dish like this one. As a pastaholic, I definitely need to check this organic pasta because it’s our favorite weekly dish. And add broccoli and sausage (or anchovies) make this so comforting and tasty!

  • Avatar
    November 16, 2018 10:46 pm

    Wish we had more access to organic authentic pastas here in the US. This looks delicious!

  • Avatar
    Jo Borg Bonnici
    November 16, 2018 4:44 pm

    This Is going to be a favourite! Whole wheat pasta to satisfy ny husband’s fibre fixation and lots of vegetables for me! Living in Malta we get an excellent selection of pasta from Sicily but word is that our water does not do it true justice in the cooking. Peccato!!! May I ask if that is chard in the photo…looks like bokchoy. Chard from the farmer up the road looks less delicate.

    • Jacqui
      November 16, 2018 6:29 pm

      Hi Jo! Thanks for your comment. I’m happy you like this recipe! Yes that’s chard in the photo but there are different kinds of chard of course. Italians call this ‘bietole’. You can use any kind of chard or kale in this recipe. The pasta comes from Sicily. It’s very good! You may not find it in shops in Malta but you can order online if you want to try this particular one. Just click on the link in the recipe post!

  • Avatar
    Beth Neels
    November 16, 2018 4:41 pm

    This looks so delicious! I wish we could get real Italian pasta here in the states. I have always wanted to visit Sicily, mostly so that I could eat the special pastas available there! Yum!!

  • Avatar
    November 16, 2018 1:36 pm

    I was just reading an article in Bon Appetit about being choosy when buying pasta. I’m not gonna lie, I used to just get the cheapest pasta but now I’m paying much more attention to their ingredients and the drying method. That organic pasta sound exactly like what I’m looking for!

  • Avatar
    November 16, 2018 12:23 pm

    That sounds to be a very healthy combination with all those vegetables in it. Beautiful and tempting clicks.

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    November 15, 2018 5:55 pm

    You shine light on a very important issue here. I will definitely be more careful in the future, looking for organic (preferably Sicilian) pasta. This is definitely my kind of pasta. Roasted pine nuts really elevates the dish.

  • Avatar
    November 15, 2018 4:21 pm

    The broccoli pasta looks delicious…the ingredients used in it surely enhances the flavor of the dish…

  • Avatar
    November 15, 2018 4:17 pm

    Wow, organic ancient grain pasta, I do not think I could find that here but will definitely look for buying this on line or of course next time I am over in Sicily. I would really love to try this pasta dish, I especially love the idea of adding breadcrumbs and the pine nuts – what a brilliant and appetising pasta dish. Love all the flavours, amazing combo!

  • Avatar
    Prajakta Sukhatme
    November 15, 2018 3:37 pm

    Comfort food at it’s best! This organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta looks so healthy and super delicious. Will be perfect for busy weeknight meal planning.

  • Avatar
    Michelle Minnaar
    November 15, 2018 12:32 am

    What a great comfort food and I really like the organic pasta, it looks flavourful and yummy!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    November 15, 2018 12:30 am

    This Sicilian broccoli pasta with sausage looks so comforting but also healthy. Love the green veggies especially the swiss chard puree.

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2018 2:11 pm

    Sausage in pasta is just so comforting. Love that you have added some veggies too.

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2018 1:13 pm

    This is the kind of pasta that I love, healthy and full of flavor…yum!

  • Avatar
    Veena Azmanov
    November 14, 2018 1:11 pm

    Organic by itself makes this Pasta Healthy. This dish looks tasty too..The flavors are also amazing.

  • Avatar
    Corina Blum
    November 14, 2018 12:51 pm

    I love pasta recipes whenever I want an easy midweek meal and this recipe sounds so tasty, especially with the organic ancient grain pasta you’ve used – I’ll have to look out for some!

  • Avatar
    Krista Price
    November 14, 2018 5:29 am

    I am very intrigued by this pasta. I avoid wheat most of the time because it sometimes causes my eczema to flare up, 🙁 but pasta made from ancient grains may be something I can tolerate. I’m going to give this pasta a shot. Thank you for sharing!

    • Jacqui
      November 14, 2018 10:09 am

      Thanks for your comment Krista, yes this organic Sicilian ancient grains pasta is definitely better for you than normal pasta. A lot healthier and you may well find you can tolerate it better!

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2018 5:16 am

    I’ve never met a pasta I didn’t like, and I’m really into the idea of an organic pasta. I don’t think my local store carries anything like that, so I’ll defi check out that link.

    • Jacqui
      November 14, 2018 10:10 am

      If you try this pasta, I’m sure you’ll love it Amanda! It’s super healthy and tasty too!

  • Avatar
    November 13, 2018 8:40 pm

    I am a pasta lover, so this is right up my alley. I am game for trying all kinds of different pastas, from regular to gluten-free and everything in the middle. Nothing beats a great organic pasta. This would be a great dinner any night of the week.

    • Jacqui
      November 14, 2018 10:13 am

      Thank you Gloria! As you know I love all kinds of pasta too! However, this is definitely a healthier type than many and together with lots of veggies makes for a nutritious dinner!

  • Avatar
    November 13, 2018 3:58 pm

    What a great pasta dinner idea! Love that you used broccoli to bulk it up.

    • Jacqui
      November 14, 2018 10:21 am

      Thanks Kim, pasta with broccoli is very popular in Southern Italy. In fact, broccoli originates from there, so I guess that’s why it is used so much in traditional dishes!

  • Avatar
    November 13, 2018 3:43 pm

    Oh, this looks like a fun change of pace for pasta night! High-quality organic pasta is hard to find — will definitely check this out.

    • Jacqui
      November 14, 2018 10:22 am

      If you try this organic pasta Tara, I’m sure you’ll love it! Tasty, healthy and nutritious and it worked so well with the broccoli, chard and sausage!

  • Avatar
    Liz Schoch
    November 13, 2018 2:58 pm

    I love it! At first, I was waiting for the pesto to arrive, then I realized that beautiful green was JUST from the broccoli! The toasted pine nuts are such a perfect addition but I always forget that I have them! I am going to try this with gf pasta!!!

    • Jacqui
      November 14, 2018 10:24 am

      Grazie Liz! Actually there is a chard puree in this recipe which contributes to the super green colour! Toasted pine nuts sprinkled over pasta is traditional in Sicily. I love using them!

  • Avatar
    November 13, 2018 2:50 pm

    This dish looks fabulous! Love all these flavors together! I actually gave up “modern” wheat for health reasons but have been looking into authentic Italian pasta made with ancient grains. I can’t wait to check out this brand of organic ancient grain pasta! 🙂

    • Jacqui
      November 14, 2018 10:26 am

      Thanks so much Sherri! I’m sure you’ll like this brand of organic Sicilian ancient grains pasta. I thought it was delicious and love the fact that it’s so much healthier than many other types of pasta!

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    November 13, 2018 1:41 pm

    This looks amazing! That organic pasta sounds delicious and I am loving the flavors you used here!

    • Jacqui
      November 14, 2018 10:28 am

      Thank you dearest Danielle! Yes this organic pasta is really yummy! It worked so well with the broccoli, chard and sausage!

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