Broccoli and Sausage Pasta is a flavorful dish made with pasta, Italian sausage, broccoli, and fresh spinach with a little kick from the crushed red pepper flakes.
Fill a medium-sized bowl ⅔ full with ice water. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add water, filling ⅔ of the way to the top. Add a pinch of salt and heat to boiling.
Add broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Drain water and place broccoli into the ice water bath. Set aside.
To the same pot, add oil over medium heat. Once sizzling, add Italian sausage. Cook the meat through (about 5-8 minutes) breaking the meat up with your spoon as it cooks. Add garlic and red pepper and cook for 1 more minute.
Add broth, shells, broccoli, and spinach and cook for 10-12 more minutes, or until the noodles have cooked through and the spinach is wilted. (I like to put the spinach on the top to keep the pasta under the water to cook.) Stir occasionally.
Finally, stir in ½ cup of parmesan cheese, reserving the other half for the topping.
Serve hot, topped with remaining parmesan cheese.*
*This will look very runny right away. (Like a brothy soup.) In 8-10 minutes most of the liquid will absorb into the pasta and vegetables and very little liquid will remain. You can eat it at any time after cooking, but we prefer to enjoy it after about 10 minutes off the heat.