Weeknight Creamy Sausage Pasta

When my kiddo was much younger, I really got into the whole Rachael Ray craze of 30 Minute Meals. Those early bedtimes meant that we had to get dinner, homework and bathtime done really quickly in the evenings so I totally got into those quick meals. I still do a handful of them from time to time but one that we kept coming back to over the years was Rachael’s Peasant Pasta. It really is good and simple and comes together very quickly with very common ingredients.

Seriously, there is nothing here that you can’t pick up at any regular grocery store!

But over the years, it has morphed into something a little more complex at our house. It still comes together in about 30 minutes but there are just a few extra flavors going on and it’s a little more decadent.

This does make a lot so it’s great for a crowd or for lunch leftovers the next day.

So this is how to chiffonade basil. Stack it up. Roll it into a little cigar shaped roll. Hold in place and slice very thinly. When you finish, you will have lovely little ribbons of fresh herbs!
This comes together in just about thirty minutes basically in two pots (one for the pasta, one for sauce). Brown sausage and add onions, then garlic and red pepper flakes. Deglaze pan with white wine. When it’s been going for a few minutes, stir in tomatoes and bring to a simmer. When your pasta is just about done, reduce heat and stir in cream. Finally, stir in peas and parmesan. You’ll finish with butter in just a few minutes.
Transfer pasta to a VERY large bowl. Pour sauce over and mix in gently with a wooden spoon. If it’s not quite saucy enough, stir in a little reserved pasta water. Add some of your basil and then finish with a big knob of butter to add a little richness. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.


Weeknight Creamy Sausage Pasta (adapted just a little from Rachael Ray’s Peasant Pasta)

  • 1 lb dried pasta (something like trompette or orichette is perfect for this chunky sauce)
  • 2-3 T good quality olive oil
  • 1 lb spicy italian sausage (either bulk or removed from casing)
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 C white wine
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1/4 C basil leaves, chiffonade (see photos above)
  • 1 C frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 C finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for passing
  • salt & pepper to taste

Bring large pot of salted water to boil.

While water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking into small pieces. When all pink is gone, add onion and continue to cook until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook one minute more. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up any brown bits. Cook for a minute or two or until alcohol smell is almost burned off. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. 

In the other pot, add pasta to boiling water. Cook for a minute or two less than package directions as it will continue to cook in sauce in just a bit. When pasta is done, drain, reserving a cup or so of pasta water. Set pasta aside for just a moment.

Add cream to sausage mixture and stir to combine. Stir in peas and Parmesan. Transfer cooked pasta to a large bowl. Pour your sauce over the pasta, turning gently until well combined. If it’s not saucy enough, add just a little of the reserved pasta water. Add in basil leaves and then stir in butter just to richen up the sauce a little. 

Serve in shallow bowls garnished with additional cheese and basil, if desired.


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