Sausage and Cream Sauce for Pasta

Another standby–probably the one we make most often–based on Marcella Hazan. Chris has mentioned how much we use her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking; our copy has 6 or 7 bookmarks in it, some clearly from the mid-90’s, which I would only remove if I had a death wish.

You can use hot Italian sausage, but I prefer to use mild and then add crushed red pepper, so that I can control the heat better. Also, you have to add salt both to the sausage as it cooks and, if needed, after the cream has been added. If you don’t salt the sausage, the sauce can turn out bland.

Once you add the cream, keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t scorch or reduce away.

We use penne (sometimes farfalle), since we usually have it on hand, but any shaped pasta will work. Long pastas won’t catch the sausage as well (or at all).

Sausage and Cream Sauce for Pasta Recipe
Recipe: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ pound mild Italian (bulk) sausage
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 pound penne or farfalle, cooked and drained
  • parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the sausage, breaking it into small pieces, and season well with crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Cook until sausage is browned, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Stir in cream and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Toss well with penne or farfalle and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.



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