I was totally on a roll with nifty one-pan dinner solutions this spring. This one from Food52 was a particularly casual-throw-together way to satisfy both the carnivore and the vegetable fan in our household. Chunks of sausage make an easy shortcut meatball; broccoli roasted in mustard, lemon and red pepper flakes is always a beautiful thing; and fennel adds a bit of extra flair. Even though I upped the sausage to 1 pound and probably the broccoli quantity as well by adding all the stems and leaves (thanks to this recipe for showing me how delicious that can be), I did feel the four servings it yielded were a bit on the scanty side, and was happy that I’d decided to serve a poached egg on top, which I will now consider essential. (I still might consider using even more broccoli next time, though.) I also threw on a little Parmesan cheese, because it plays so well with all these ingredients, and garnished with some fennel fronds for freshness. A good reminder that there are still really simple yet innovative weeknight meals to be discovered, beyond the same old boring options.
2 small to medium heads of broccoli
1 medium fennel bulb, plus a few tablespoons of chopped fronds
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
Finely grated zest and one 1 teaspoon of juice from 1 small lemon
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (omit if using spicy sausage)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12-16 ounces (4-5 links) good-quality pork sausage, hot or mild
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Break down the broccoli into bite-size florets. Don’t throw the stalks and leaves away—peel the thick outer skin off the stalks and slice them lengthwise, then into ¼-inch pieces. You can use the leaves as well. Place all the broccoli in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (broiler-safe if possible).
- Trim and core the fennel and cut into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick. Add to the baking dish with the broccoli.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, whole-grain mustard, lemon juice and zest, Aleppo pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Add to broccoli and fennel and toss well to coat evenly.
- Remove sausages from casings and cut into ¾-inch pieces. Nestle the sausage pieces among the broccoli and fennel.
- Roast for about 20-30 minutes, or until the broccoli and fennel are tender and the sausage is no longer pink. Toss about halfway through to ensure even cooking.
- Optional but highly recommended if your baking dish is broiler-safe: Heat broiler, and place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the sausage and slightly char the broccoli and fennel in spots.
- Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds, and grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Great with a poached egg on top.
Time: 45 minutes
Leftover potential: Good.