This Italian sausage pasta shows that less can be more, its packed full of flavour and easy to make!
I created this recipe years ago at a bistro I worked at. Inspired by an old Italian housemate of mine who was also a chef. He made a ragu using the inside of the sausage and discarded the casing.
This adds a ton of flavour to the ragu because the mince meat is rich and has been marinated in spices. This makes it a perfect pair for dry wines and romantic/family dinners.
What is Italian Sausage?
In Italy they have many many different types of sausages. You can find over a 100 variations of sausages in Italy from spicy spreadable pastes (Nudja), cured sausages (Salami’s), ground cured (Mortadella).
But the one we are looking for is a raw & spiced sausage. You tend to find these in supermarkets in Western Europe and Northern American named Italian Sausage. One of their main ingredients is fennel and they tend to come in mild and hot.
If you can’t find Italian sausage
If you can’t find Italian sausages in your supermarket or butcher don’t worry! I have made this recipe multiple times with good quality, regular, raw plain sausages.
Simply take the casing of the sausages. Add the sausage meat to a mixing bowl and discard the casings. Then mix in this Italian sausage spice mix.
Italian Sausage Spice Mix
- 1 Bunch fresh parsley
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/3 tsp crushed or ground fennel seeds
- 2 crushed garlic gloves
- 1tsp mild chilli flakes
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Italian Sausage Pasta
- 500 g Penne
- 50 ml Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Onion
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 400 g Italian sausages
- 125 ml Dry white wine or red wine
- 500 ml Whole milk
- 500 g Passata
- 1 bunch Flat parsley finely sliced (Stalks removed and finely sliced)
- Firstly we take off the casing off the sausages, we do this by cutting the sausages lengthways just enough to pierce the casing and then push the mince out into a mixing bowl (you can then dispose of the sausage casings) . Once you have prepared all the sausage mince into a mixing bowl, you can add your seasoning (See ingredient notes).
- Now we start cooking, in a large sauté pan add olive oil and over a medium heat sauté the onions for 5-6 minutes until soften. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
- Turn up the heat and quickly add the sausage mince and season with salt and pepper. Now break up the mince using a wooden spoon and keep stirring to let any meat liquid evaporate. Once the mince has browned turn down the heat to medium.
- Next add the wine and with a wooden spoon deglaze the pan (scrape any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan). Once the wine has evaporated add the milk and simmer for 10—15 minutes (this is to help tenderise the meat).
- Now add passata, mixing slowly until the the sauce is brought to a simmer. Once simmering add the finely sliced parsley stalks and chilli flakes then turn down the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour adding water if needed. Check and stir once every 15-30 minutes.
- When the ragu is nearly finished, add the parsley leaves, mix and then taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Next cook the pasta in a pot of generously salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta and stir into the ragu.
- Serve fresh from the pan with a sprinkle of parsley and freshly grated parmesan.
- If you cannot find Italian sausages it is best to use plain good quality sausages and make your own spice mix. Add 1 bunch of sliced fresh parsley, 2tsp paprika, 1tsp cayenne pepper, 1/3 tsp crushed fennel seeds/ground fennel seeds, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1 tsp mild chilli flakes (optional)
- If you are a chilli lover add a pinch of hot chillies into the sauce whilst you are simmering it. It works really nicely