Monday, September 20, 2010

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers in Cream Sauce Recipe - Cooking Italy # 11

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers 1, edited

You already know that I love pasta, and big bowls of rustic, flavourful, family-style meals, but I don't think I've mentioned here before that I have a big weakness for sausages.  Whilst, as I've told you in previous posts, I like to keep my intake of meat fairly minimal, I can't imagine ever leaving sausages out of my diet.

One of our assignments back in February (okay, so I'm slow) for the Cooking Italy group was Marcella Hazan's Pasta with Sausages and Cream Sauce from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.  I really liked the idea of this dish, but I also knew (despite the fact that others in the group had tried it and loved it) that I was going to have to make some changes to Marcella's original version in order to satisfy our palettes.

The original recipe called for "sweet sausage, containing no fennel seed, chilli pepper, or other strong seasonings".  Well, that definitely was not going to cut it for me - so rule one broken, and I used these Sicilian-style sausages from Peter Timbs Butchery - they were slightly spicy (not excessively so), contained fennel seeds, and were in my opinion just what I was looking for in this dish.

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers 5, edited

The second change I made was leaving out the onion that the recipe called for, since we pretty much don't do onion around here.  Instead I chose to add some red and yellow peppers.  I loved the texture and colour that these brought to the dish, and I thought that the sweetness of the peppers was a nice foil to the spiciness of the sausages.

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers 6, edited

Then, instead of using regular pouring cream, I used some creme fraiche.  I love the "lemony" tang that this adds, and also creme fraiche is such a forgiving ingredient to use - it doesn't take any thickening and never splits or curdles.  Because, I'd used the creme fraiche I left out the parmesan cheese that was called for - I just didn't feel it needed it.

I will definitely make this again, since it went down pretty well here.  It makes a great family style meal, and was perfect for a coolish evening.  Was I happy with the changes I made?  Yes, absolutely.  Would I make any other changes?  If I'd had some on hand I would definitely have added some chopped, flat-leaf parsley at the end, and I think next time I would add a sprinkling of chilli flakes as well to give it a bit more "pep".

If you would like the original recipe, you can find it here on Angela's blog (Spinach Tiger), or read on for my version.

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers in Cream Sauce Recipe
Inspired by Marcella Hazan's
Click here for printable copy of this recipe
Serves 4

500-600g sausages of your choice
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
olive oil
250g creme fraiche
400g pasta shapes
(I used farfalle & gnocchi-shaped pasta)
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Set a large pan of water over high heat and bring to the boil.  Once it has come to a boil, salt liberally, add the pasta to the pan, and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, remove the casings from the sausages - just run a sharp knife down the full length of the sausage, peel off the casing and discard - it will come off very easily.

Core and de-seed the peppers, and cut into pieces - roughly about 2cm squares.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet, set over high heat.  Add the sausages to the hot oil and using a wooden spatula break the sausages up into smallish pieces (about the same kind of size as the pieces of pepper).

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers 4, edited

Once the sausages have started to brown and are almost cooked through, push them to one side and add the peppers to the pan.  Sprinkle a little flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper over the peppers and continue cooking until the peppers have softened and started to caramelise, and the sausages are completely cooked through.

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers 3, edited

Add creme fraiche to the pan, and stir until the creme fraiche has completely dissolved and warmed through, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Pasta with Sausage & Peppers 2, edited

Set aside about a cup of the pasta water, then drain pasta and add to the sauce.  Toss pasta through the sauce until completely coated, adding a little of the reserved pasta water if necessary.

Serve, family style in a large bowl or platter, sprinkling some freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley over the top if desired.

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking [Hardcover]

Do visit my Cooking Italy page to learn more about the group (maybe you'd even like to join in - you don't have to have a blog to join the group and cook along with everyone else), find links to other members of the group, and links to all the Cooking Italy recipes I've cooked so far.

I'm submitting this post to Hearth and Soul blog hop - do visit and have a look at some great food submitted by wonderful people who really do cook from the heart.


  1. Sausages and pasta do it for me everytime!

  2. Thanks Pam, sausages and pasta just go together like hands and gloves, don't they :-)

  3. I have a love of sausage too! And of your pasta! Sounds so hearty and comforting! Not to mention delicious.

  4. I'm also a HUGE fan of pasta although not getting enough these days! I did just cook a big pot of spaghetti bolognese recently though and ate it for three days straight (gets better each day!) hehe... And I totally agree, what's with plain sausage! Go the spice!

  5. Love sausage and peppers, just never made it with cream before, however I will now, thanks!

  6. Wow, that looks heavenly. It's so funny that you made sausage and pasta and we just made sausage and peppers with potatoes and kale. We are on the same wavelength. I love your adjustment.

  7. mmmmmmm! Comfort food! Sausage and peppers and red chile flakes (and onions here) paired with glorious gnocchi pillows!? Doesn't get much better than that in my book. Sounds fabulous, Sue...lovin' the cream sauce, too- I've never paired these things with a cream sauce before...must try! Thanks for sharing it with the hns hop this week =)

  8. Hi Sue,

    Never tried pairing pasta with cream, yours sounds interesting and delicious, thanks for visiting and leaving your lovely comment....

  9. Reeni - thanks for visiting - gotta love sausage.

    Catty - hi, thanks for stopping by - love the way spag bol just keeps getting better with age - just like me - teehee :-)

    Melynda - thanks for visiting - I hope you give it a try.

    City Share - yes, we're clearly on the same wavelength. I loved the look of your dish - I once made a dish out of the Lidia's Italy book which had sausage and potatoes with roasted peppers - like your idea of adding kale.

    Heather - yes, it's comfort food with a capital "C". The creme fraiche just makes it - hope you give it a try.

    Treat and Trick - thanks for visiting my blog - hope you give this a try and visit again soon.


  10. Mmm.. I would love a big bowl of this right now. I think sausage and pepper pasta is one of my favorite things ever. I am like you, I couldn't give up sausage (or bacon!) either. ;-)

  11. Deb - I have used sausage like this before in risotto many times - don't know why it took me so long to discover it is pasta but I'm definitely hooked now. Dear God, no way I could give up bacon either! :-)

  12. You are a cook after my husband's heart. He is a sausage fanatic. I like that you put your own spin on the dish. Why not? I'm sure it was delicious.

  13. Sausage, peppers, pasta and cream fraiche? What a luscious's calling my name! Thanks for visiting me!

  14. Ok, I eat sausage and peppers all the time, so why have I never topped them off with something creamy? Hold on, I'm having an ah-ha moment here! Thanks for linking up with Hearth and Soul.

  15. We make a recipe similar to this and I love it! I have a weakness for sausage too. It's just so darned tasty. Your version of this looks delicious, thanks for sharing!

  16. Suzy Q! Oh this recipe looks SOOOOOOO delicious! I am totally gonna share it on my thoughts on friday and also your cooking italy theme! I would say, that pasta with sauage is one of my favorite meals! I owe you a mail--and you will get it soon love! Hope all is getting better with the earthquake situation and your life is getting back on track. I am sure your yoga is helping with everything. What a blessing that is. HUGE hugs! alex@amoderatelife. p.s. thanks for sharing on the hearth 'n soul hop!

  17. I love sausages too - I think that when (not if) I make this I will leave the onions in - I put onions in everything! Thanks for linking this to the hearth n soul blog hop!

  18. oh that pan with sauted sausages looks soooo tempting.I love pasta with sausages and the your addition of creme fraiche is mindblowing! I have only one word...yum!!!

  19. First time visiting, but loving you already. I LOVE big bowls of pasta too, esp if there's sausages involved. I'm actually not very picky with my "sausages" either. I'll even take hot dogs. I just love them wieners, their shape, their processed fun flavor!

  20. Angela - it sure was delicious, and I'm so pleased I "strayed" a bit with this one.

    Louanne - Hi, thanks for dropping in - hope you give this a try.

    Hey Butter' - can't believe you've never tried the cream - this has your name all over it :-)

    Hi Julie - pleased to find another member of the sausage fan club :-)

    Alex - you're right - it is sooooo delicious. Now that I've made this pasta and sausage is for sure one of my "go-to" favourites. Things slowly returning to normal here and starting to get a few good nights' sleep now that the there are fewer after shocks.

    Christy - hope you enjoy it with the onions - would love to hear how you like it.

    Tanvi - thanks for visiting - I was really pleased with the addition of the creme fraiche - it is such an awesome ingredient that I try to always have some in the fridge. I think mascarpone would work just as well.

    Sophia - hi - thanks for dropping in - I can see that you are my pasta and sausage "soul sister" :-)


  21. This looks really good, Sue, the bell peps are a beautiful addition. When I made this, we didn't like it at all, but I used a wrong sausage. This reminds me I want to make it again after I make up another batch of Hazan fils' homemade sausage. No fennel, but still very tasty.

  22. Thanks Kaye - I loved the addition of the peppers and would definitely put them in again. Hope you do try making it again.

  23. Shame on me for not following a little closer!! I don't know how in the world I missed this recipe last week!! Looks sooooo good! Love your site!


  24. Hi Jason - glad you caught up with it. Thanks for visiting and your lovely comments.


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