SRB: Spaghetti with Sausage, Ricotta, and Broccoletti

Sausage, Ricotta, Brocoletti

One of my favorite things about Richmond is the Ed Vasaio empire.  I genuinely enjoy 99% of the food I’ve had from 8 1/2, Mamma Zu, and Edo’s.  They are staples in my eating out scene.

And I’ve had plenty of conversations with other local food-lovers about all the negative aspects of the aforementioned spots as well – abysmal service, over-salted food, and even legends of drug abuse among staff have definitely affected the dining experiences of more than a few people I’ve spoken with.

All I can say to that is, “Oh well.”

Personally, I’ve experienced service at both Edo’s and Mamma Zu that ranged from decent to outstanding, even a little special treatment from some friends employed at either establishment, which never hurts the ol’ ego.

drawing by Steve Herndon

And to be honest, even if their service was as bad as people say it is, I would still patronize all of the places I’ve mentioned because, goddamn, that scungili, that eggplant parm, that lamb shank…they’re worth a little ‘tude.  I consistently champion hospitality in the restaurant industry because it’s part of my nature to be hospitable, and I hold others to a similar standard and because it was drilled into me in culinary school.  But service isn’t why I go to a restaurant; food is – even food I can make at home…because sometimes, I’d rather not.

This week, however, I had ample ingredients and was inspired to recreate an 8 1/2 classic for dinner.


SRB: Spaghetti with Sausage, Ricotta, and Broccoletti


2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions/common sense
(toss the cooked spaghetti in 1 Tbs. olive oil while working on the other components)
1 lb. Della Nonna sausage (from Sausage Craft,) or some other delicious sausage
8 oz. broccoletti, blanched, cooled, and roughly chopped at 2 in. intervals
1 Tbs. minced garlic
4 oz. whole milk ricotta
8 oz. marinara sauce (I used leftover Pizza Tonight bounty, but feel free to make your own.)
salt and pepper to taste


Assemble all ingredients. In a large saute pan, heat 1 Tbs olive oil. Add crumbled sausage, and cook through. Drain off a little extra sausage rendering if necessary before adding the broccoletti.

Saute broccoletti and garlic for about 2 minutes, or until cooked through and totally yummy-smelling. Add cooked pasta, ricotta, and marinara sauce, and cook for another minute or two just to incorporate everything together. Season to taste.

*I also had a little store-bought sausage left in the larder, so I went ahead and threw it in as well. Using two types of sausage, however, embraces a level of gluttony that I can’t, in good conscience, condone. (DO IT.)

Serve with a little arugula salad and bread or these delicious ‘Pizza Bones,’ made with leftover pizza dough that I rolled out thin and baked for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

How important is restaurant service to you? Does good food make up for bad service? Does good service make up for bad food? How many chances will you give a place before it’s ‘Ciao!’?

Speak your piece. Leave a comment!


8 responses to “SRB: Spaghetti with Sausage, Ricotta, and Broccoletti

  1. This dish sounds great – I want to try some of those pizza bones. And WOW that sauce looks YUMMY! But service is very important to me…when you cook something at home, it’s way cheaper. So if you go out, you’re paying for the atmosphere which is ruined by poor service.

  2. To be honest, I don’t care much about service. I care even LESS about service if the food is good 🙂

  3. This dish sounds amazingggg! My Italian boyfriend would be all over it 🙂

    It was so nice meeting you the other weekend at the market too, I absolutely love your blog – you are so talented in the ktichen! I think I’m going to be swinging by this Saturday too so see ya then if you’re there.

    • Stephanie – I’m so glad I’ve gotten to see you at the market! I love yr blog! Keep up the good work!

  4. I wanna put this in my mouf. You know my feelings about Edos and Mama Zu (lob the foodballs, don’t care if servers are mean- because i was a bitchy server- but for the love of god give me the table that i have a reservation for, dick. sorry I don’t have enough visible tats for ya). 8 1/2 FTW

  5. Im sick of two things:
    1. Customers thinking that above all “They are alway right” even when they are treating you like scum
    2. That their money will buy them anything. In New York if someone wants a buger in a pizza joint, their money will buy it. Its sick.
    People need to remember its not just about them. A little attitude in the right dose, shoes people that that establishment has standards and intelligent staff. Im down with it.
    …and as always, the food is bitchin’ Chef.

    • I remember Bryan once saying that if a customer wanted a milkshake, we would make them a milkshake. Would that job have fallen on…oh shit, what was that girl’s name…the “pastry chef?” She would’ve been THRILLED. Heh heh heh.

      Besos, Bella!

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