Ruote di Carro col Sugo di Salsicce, Panna e Pomodoro

Cartwheels with Sausages, Cream, and Tomato

Sausages provide many quick and savory ways to make a delicious pasta sauce. They can be crumbled, sliced, cut up into pieces, used with tomato and cream, added to the stuffing of tortellini or, in the center and south of Italy, combined with other ingredients in baked pasta dishes such as lasagne or rigatoni. In this light-handed version, both cream and tomatoes are used, just enough tomatoes to give the cream a deep pink blush. The sausages are sliced into thin disks before browning so that they maintain their shape, neither crumbling into the sauce nor weighing it down with thick chunks. Choose sweet sausages free of chile peppers, fennel, tomato, or other seasonings that are foreign to the sausages Italians commonly use. Cartwheels is an attractive and suitable pasta for the sauce, which nestles in the spaces this shape provides. Other appropriate shapes are conchiglie, shells, or lumache, snails.

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  • ½ pound breakfast or other mild pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • cup canned Italian peeled plum tomatoes, cut coarse, with their juice
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 pound ruote di carro (pasta cartwheels)
  • Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan) for the table


  1. Slice the sausages into disks ¼ inch thick.
  2. Put the olive oil and chopped garlic in a skillet and turn on the heat to medium. When the garlic becomes colored a pale gold, add the sliced sausages. Turn them from time to time until they are nicely browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir, and cook at a gentle simmer.
  3. After about 20 minutes, when the fat separates from the other juices and floats free, add the cream and turn up the heat. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cream is reduced. Add salt and a liberal grinding of pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
  4. Drop the pasta into a pot of abundant boiling salted water. When it is barely tender but firm to the bite, drain and toss immediately with the sauce. Serve at once with freshly grated cheese available on the side.