penne with mustard, basil and sausage.

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to introduce this recipe, and y’all, there really just aren’t words. This is one of my absolute favorite recipes, the meal I make as a treat for Matt, my go-to meal for company… and a recipe I share and am asked for time and time again. No one dislikes this, and everyone wants the recipe. It’s a weekend meal to me — heavy cream during the week is just extravagant to me for some reason — but it’s not all that time consuming or complicated to make.

Make it. Everyone in your life will thank you, and consider you the greatest cook in all the world.

Penne with Mustard, Basil and Sausage
via my mom, about 10 years ago (adapted from maybe Bon Appetit?)

1 pound penne or medium shells
8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 ½ pounds)
¾ cup dry white wine
¾ heavy cream
3 tbsp grainy mustard
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil
Box grape tomatoes, halved
1/2-3/4 c freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to taste

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta, basil, tomatoes and cheese; toss to coat.

Serve at once.

My notes from years of experience:

  • The original recipe did not call for the tomatoes or the cheese but I cannot imagine this dish without them.
  • This recipe does not adapt well to low-fat. I’ve made it with (Barilla Plus) wheat noodles and turkey Italian sausage with no problems, but fat-free cream just does not work here. Embrace the heavy cream. And then have a dash in your coffee the next morning – it won’t kill you.
  • There’s no way the sausage/cream goodness is going to fit into the skillet with the pasta and tomatoes and basil. Pour the pasta in a big bowl, top with everything and serve.
  • Make the whole recipe, even if there are just two of you — this makes great leftovers.

And then sit back and enjoy the accolades.

You are indeed a culinary genius,
jcristg

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12 thoughts on “penne with mustard, basil and sausage.

  1. Literally everyone needs to make this. I’ve been making it for 2 years now an it is my go-to as well. And the leftovers! Omg so good. SO, SO GOOD.

  2. I will THIRD the assertion that you must make this, and you must make this NOW. It is a definitely favorite in my household.

    Some small changes I make to this dish:
    – I always use hot italian turkey sausage (instead of pork sausage), and love it just the same. I also use LESS sausage (about 1 pound, instead of 1.5), with no ill effects
    – I add about 1/2 a sweet onion, diced, and 3-4 garlic cloves, minced, to the meat mixture
    – I don’t use the basil – because I never have it, and am too lazy to go buy it

    No matter how you change it up, you will adore this pasta dish, promise.

  3. This has been a staple in the Conner and Bogan kitchens for years. Matt requests it so often that I had to make a “once a quarter” rule. My brother request that my mom make it every time he comes home — to snack on.

    I have tried to reduce the calories with varying results. Cream is a must, but I have used some delightful chicken sausage from Publix (the greenwise organic brand) that filled in beautifully. Of course I did have to add a bit of olive oil so perhaps my positive efforts were negated?

  4. I just had this tonight. It was fantabulous. I finished off the evening with a weight watchers bar, it was divine!

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