This recipe for pasta with broccolini and crumbled vegan sausage is a spin-off of an Italian classic. Broccolini has a pleasant earthy flavor that is the perfect contrast to the smoky and sweet vegan sausage crumbles. Paired with orecchiette, a pasta that will catch the crumbles and light olive oil sauce in its ear-shaped cups, this pasta is delicious and satisfying in every bite.
Preheat your oven to 450°F/230°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium pot, stir together water, liquid smoke, soy sauce and maple syrup. Heat on medium until the mixture comes to a light boil.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix TVP, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, fennel, thyme and black pepper. Stir into pot and lower the heat.
Cover the pot and heat on low for 5 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then, transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crispy.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the broccolini and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, remove the broccolini and rinse with cold water to stop it from overcooking. Chop coarsely and set aside.
Add the orecchiette pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, following the package directions. When the pasta is ready, reserve about one cup of the water and set aside. Drain pasta in a colander.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic slices and cook until they are just starting to brown. Then, add the broccolini and vegan sausage crumbles. Stir to combine and heat for about 2 minutes.
Lower the heat and add the pasta to the pan. Stir to combine, adjusting the consistency with the reserved pasta water if desired. Top with red pepper flakes and vegan parmesan. Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Serve warm.