Nonna's Creamy Cavatelli Pasta Recipe With Italian Sausage: Dinner in Under 30 Minutes by Ann Marie Patitucci
I grew up in an Italian family. My mom and her sisters served Italian dinners on Sundays, on holidays and plenty of “random” days, too. We regularly ate spaghetti and meatballs and lasagna, of course, but also sausage and peppers, pasta e fagioli, Italian wedding soup, stuffed eggplant, stuffed shells, baked ziti and a variety of pastas. I was probably the only kid in my kindergarten class who could differentiate among cavatelli, manicotti, fettuccine and bowties.
This recipe brings a smile to my face as I write it because cavatelli is the pasta that most reminds me of my childhood. For some reason my siblings and I used to call it “peanuts.” This dish is a perfect one for my own little family, especially since my husband and my younger son see pasta recipes as incomplete until some meat is added!
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Cuisine: Italian American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 to 5
- 14 ounces cavatelli pasta (or other pasta)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound Italian sausages, meat squeezed out of casings
- 1/4 cup white wine (nothing too sweet)
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (for a lower calorie option use light cream or half and half instead)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups baby spinach (or kale), torn into bite-sized pieces
- grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Use your favorite pasta for this easy recipe.
- Be sure to cook the pasta, whichever type you use, to al dente. You don't want mushy pasta.
Here's how to make it:
- Boil pasta for 1 minute LESS than directions state. Just before draining, scoop out 1 cup of pasta cooking water and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add sausage meat and cook, breaking it up as you go, about 4 minutes.
- Add wine and cook. Allow wine to evaporate (the wine-y smell will disappear).
- Add remaining ingredients except spinach. Stir well, then bring to a simmer. Turn stove down to low and simmer for about 2 minutes, combining all the flavors.
- Add cooked pasta and spinach. Toss for 1 minute to fully coat pasta with sauce. The sauce will thicken, but if it gets too thick, use the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it a bit. Serve immediately, garnishing with grated Parmesan cheese.
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