Sausage Tomato Sauce over Penne

When Robin was growing up, her grandmother made a similar sauce, which they called “gravy” and it was probably also served on a Sunday. We update Nan’s sauce with some fresh herbs.

Servings and Times

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Tools and Appliances

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Alternate Preparations: Nanny's Sauce


We start by putting a large pot of water on medium heat for the pasta and putting our dutch oven on the stove on medium heat. We put the olive oil into the dutch oven and when hot we add the sausage ring. We brown on all sides, breaking up the ring into large lengths of sausage link to ensure they are as brown as possible. This takes about 8 minutes. We remove the sausage to a plate and lower the heat to low. Using paper towels and our tongs, we sop up most of the sausage fat from the pan and then add the garlic and stir for a minute. Meanwhile, we wipe the cans of tomato sauce and paste with a damp cloth and open all the cans.

We add the sauce and paste and stir well. Then we add the hot pepper flakes, water, bay leaf, onion and garlic powders, basil flakes, parsley stems, and some salt and pepper. Over medium heat, we bring this to a simmer. We reduce the heat, add the browned sausage and continue to simmer, partially covered. We want the sausage to simmer for at least 20 minutes to cook through.

When the water is boiling for the pasta, we add the penne, and some salt, and stir. We cook according to the package directions.

When the pasta is almost done, we add the fresh basil and parsley to the sausage sauce. We drain the pasta when done and add a little sauce to the serving bowl. Before serving the sauce on the side, we remove the bay leaf, garlic cloves, and parsley stems. We top the pasta with sausage sauce with some freshly grated Locatelli (using our microplane grater).

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