Pasta With Spicy Italian Sausage

So there I was, thumbing through that week’s edition of People Magazine (August 10, 2009), when my heart stopped – there on page 85 was a recipe from that delicious Aussie, Curtis Stone (Take Home Chef?  Yes, please).  This recipe was called “Rigatoni With Spicy Italian Salami“. Spellbound by the darling photo provided of Chef Stone (♥sIgH♥), I made this for my family. Hmm. Too salty. I don’t like olives. I don’t like capers. I also didn’t care for the salami in this particular recipe. Food and Wine only gave it 3 out of 5 stars. BUT – anything with wine in it has potential! Including ME! I only messed with this recipe slightly, but I think I ended up with better results.  In searching for his original, I see Ol’ Curtis also has a sausage version of this now. Great minds think alike, but I think I WAS FIRST, CURTIS. You can also make this with Italian turkey sausage as well.  Further, if you want to make this gluten-free, simply substitute with Jenny-O Italian turkey sausage and gluten-free pasta (I have made it that way for friends with celiac disease).

I had forgotten to purchase the usual fresh loaf of Italian bread to go with dinner tonight.  Freezer to the rescue!  I pulled out unused hot dog and hamburger buns, brushed them with melted butter, and stuck them under the broiler until golden brown. What? That’s not classy? No one suspected a thing…

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Right! Pasta. Here we go.


I forgot to include the pasta box in the ingredient shot, so I placed it in the background 😀

Preheat the oven to 375°. I would begin by removing the casings from the sausage.  I simply zip a knife down one side, and the meat slides out.

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Next, you’re going to construct a little foil box in which you will place your tomatoes. After I make this (I start with one about 8×8 inches), I fold it closer around the tomatoes so they are pretty cozy.  Then drizzle with 2 tsp. of olive oil (I use EVOO), and season with salt and pepper.  I like kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

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Okay, so maybe sculpture wasn’t my best elective in college.

Roast these for 10 minutes, then remove them from the oven and let them cool.

Next, heat the remaining 3 tsp. of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the turkey sausage into the pan. As it cooks, use a spatula to break the sausage into smaller pieces. Cook until it’s no longer pink. Which is difficult to discern, as hot Italian sausage is orange with spices.  Which is how I ended up eating uncooked Italian sausage on our camping trip this summer.  But I digress…

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Once cooked, remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.  We will use that wonderful oil left in the pan.

But meanwhile, bring your pasta water to a boil.

Add the minced garlic to the hot oil in the pan and sauté until it’s just about to turn color.

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Add the tomatoes into the pan, along with the “foil oil”.  Sauté these carefully with the garlic for 3 minutes.

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Did someone say “wine”??

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Since I cook with wine often, I like to keep these minis around. They come in a six-pack, and are just enough for the recipe and a little left over for the cook.

Add the wine, which deglazes the pan, and bring everything to a simmer.

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Add the sausage back in, and the chopped cilantro.

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If you haven’t cooked your pasta yet, turn off the heat under the turkey mixture until the pasta is cooked and drained well.  After draining the pasta, add it to the mixture in the pan, tossing until pasta is coated well.  Season with pepper.  Toss with grated cheese.  These tomatoes literally explode in your mouth with flavor.  That’s why I like to be careful, and not break them up into the mix.  And tonight – no leftovers!

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Curtis, I hope you approve!

Pasta With Spicy Italian Sausage

Serves 4


  • 4 links of hot Italian sausage (you can substitute sweet or turkey sausage), casings removed
  • One container of grape tomatoes (20-ish?)
  • 5 teaspoons of olive oil (separated: 2 and 3)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of white wine (I use chardonnay)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Approximately 12 ounces of large pasta – rigatoni, rotelli, etc.
  • Grated cheese – pecorino romano, parmesan, etc.

Preheat oven to 375°.  Make a foil square, approximately 8″x8″ with 1″ sides. Place on a baking sheet. Place grape tomatoes into the foil. Drizzle with 2 tsp. of the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Heat remaining 3 tsp. of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add sausage to oil. As the sausage cooks, break it up with a spatula into smaller pieces. Continue to cook until no longer pink. Remove sausage from pan, set aside. Reserve oil in pan. Meanwhile, bring pasta water to a boil.  Add minced garlic to the hot oil in the pan and sauté until just about to turn color. Add roasted tomatoes with their oil to the pan and carefully sauté for 3 minutes. Add wine, bring mixture to a simmer, and add turkey and cilantro. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta well, and pour into the pan with the turkey/tomato mixture. Toss until pasta is well-coated. Season with pepper. Toss with grated cheese and serve.