Shells with Sausage and Cream

Conchiglie alla Salsiccia

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta

Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2009

  • About

This is the classic sauce that in Emilia-Romagna is served with gramigna, a short, curled egg pasta whose name means “crab grass” in Italian. The sausage that would be used in Italy is a plain, mild pork sausage. The mild or sweet Italian sausage available in the States always has fennel seeds, which unfortunately completely change the flavor of this dish. Try using a plain breakfast sausage instead or, since the casing needs to be removed anyway, make your own sausage mix using the recipe that follows.

Ingredients

  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces plain pork sausage
  • Salt
  • 1 pound conchiglie (fusilli is also good)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Method

  1. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put the butter in a 12-inch skillet, add the chopped onion, and place over medium-high heat. Sauté until the onion just begins to turn a rich, golden color, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the onion is sautéing, remove the casing from the sausage and break it up into pieces. When the onion is ready, add the sausage to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and break the sausage up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring often, until the sausage is cooked through and is lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. After the sausage has cooked for about 10 minutes, add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the conchiglie, and stir well. Cook until al dente.
  5. When the sausage is ready, add the cream and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the cream has thickened and reduced by about one-third, 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  6. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the grated cheese, and serve at once.