My New Favorite Dish: Tomato, Sausage and Pecorino Pasta

September 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm 1 comment

You guys know that I struggle with meals that call for more than 4-5 ingredients. I get bored and whiney and most certainly screw something up. But, this dish was so easy and had so much color & aroma that I actually thought I was doing it wrong. I thought, “it can’t be this easy!” and I must’ve checked the recipe a million times to make sure I had everything in there. And, this was the first meal I’ve made where I felt comfortable enough to exercise some creative freedom and make some swaps to the recipe. Let me tell you – it had so much flavor (which is not something I can usually boast) that I’ll most definitely be making this my “go to” dish.


Seriously, how good does this look?


  • 8  ounces  uncooked penne (I’m a sucker for the Barilla PLUS line)
  • 8  ounces  sweet Italian sausage*
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1  cup  vertically sliced onion
  • 2  teaspoons  minced garlic
  • 1 1/4  pounds  tomatoes, chopped*
  • 6  tablespoons  grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  cup  torn fresh basil leaves*

*I made my own changes here – since Shawn has a thing about the consistency of tomatoes (he freaks out because they’re squishy), I left the tomatoes out of the recipe and instead mixed the dish with marinara sauce at the end. Also, since I find fresh herbs to be a waste of money (seriously, you use a fraction of what you buy and the rest goes bad), I just used regular basil from the spice rack. Finally, I substituted sweet Italian sausage with Al Fresco chicken sausage, which is incredibly good and much healthier. Specifically, the sundried tomato flavor was a good choice for this recipe.


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  2. While the pasta’s boiling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. I removed the sausage from the casings just by slicing it length-wise and pulling off the casing, then chopped the sausage into small pieces. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring to ensure that the sausage cooks through.
  3. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes.
  4. At this point, the original recipe said to stir in tomatoes; cook 2 minutes. Instead, the pasta was good and ready, so I drained it and combined it with the sausage / onion / garlic mixture in a giant serving bowl.
  5. Stir in 2 tablespoons cheese, salt, and pepper. The original recipe also suggests you sprinkle it with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and basil, but I just added basil. It already had so much flavor without a ton of the cheese, so you’re doing yourself a favor by cutting back.
This is the nutrition information from the original recipe, but I think with my substitutions above, you might even save yourself a few more calories.
  • Calories per serving: 389
  • Fat: 10.7g (sat 4g,mono 4.5g,poly 0.7g)
  • Protein: 21.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 53.5g
  • Fiber: 4.5g

Entry filed under: Recipes.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Susan  |  September 18, 2009 at 6:31 am

    This looks delicious. Mike hates tomatoes too, so I am trying it your way!

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