Fill large pot or Dutch Oven half way full of water and add salt if desired. When water is boiling add pasta, stir often, and cook to al dente. Set aside one cup of pasta cooking water before draining. Do not rinse pasta.
Wash and dry broccoli, trim and peel stems, cut into florets.
Over medium heat in large skillet, brown and mash ground sausage into bite size pieces. Transfer sausage to a large serving bowl and add broccoli, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to pan. Cook for approximately 3 minutes or until garlic is golden brown. Add chicken broth and cook another 3 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
Add mixture to sausage that was set aside. Add reserved pasta cooking water as needed to add moisture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add grated cheese if desired.