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rigatoni with sausage sauce

  • Author: The Clever Carrot
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 4


  • 1 lb. mezzi rigatoni
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (pork, chicken, or turkey)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1x 28 ox. can of whole-peeled tomatoes
  • 1 heaped tsp. sugar
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt + pepper


  • basil leaves
  • parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, reserving a mug of cooking water before draining. You will use this to loosen the sauce if needed.
  2. In a large 12-inch skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the sliced garlic, rosemary, and fennel seeds. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Squeeze the sausage meat from its casing and add it to the pan.
  5. Gently brown the meat, using a wooden spoon to break it up as you go. Lower the heat if necessary so that the meat stays tender and does not become rubbery. It will finish cooking in the sauce.
  6. Add the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a rolling simmer; do not boil. Cover and cook until the tomatoes have broken down, about 30-40 minutes. Be sure to add a splash of water to your empty can of tomatoes, swirl it around, and add it back to the sauce. No waste!
  7. Remove the rosemary sprig and skim any oil from the top with a spoon.
  8. Sprinkle the sugar over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Adjust taste to your liking.
  9. Stack about 10 basil leaves on top a of each other and roll them up. Thinly slice into ribbons and add to the sauce.
  10. Combine the pasta and sauce, adding some of the starchy cooking liquid if needed.
  11. Serve with parmesan cheese and extra basil leaves.