Spicy Paccheri with Sausage & Greens

This spicy paccheri with sausage & greens is a bowl of pure comfort that feels slightly elevated. The dish consists of large, tube-like pasta tossed in a spicy white wine butter sauce that’s full of Italian sausage, wilted green chard, pecorino romano cheese, roasted hazelnuts, and fried rosemary. It’s a cold-weather pasta dish that you will absolutely fall in love with.

two bowls of spicy paccheri with sausage and greens topped with pecorino cheese and hazelnuts

spicy paccheri – the inspiration

In the winter, I crave pasta dishes that are hearty and have that “stick to your ribs” kind of quality. I created this recipe with a fairly short ingredient list to keep things simple, yet the ingredients are effortlessly satisfying.

If you haven’t tried paccheri, it’s one of my favorite shapes of pasta for winter dishes. The large tubes can either be flat or have little ridges on them. Either way, the texture of the pasta is thick and firm. The tubes trap sauce really easily and also make for such a beautiful presentation.

spicy paccheri with sausage and greens in a bowl

The sauce starts off by frying some rosemary in olive oil which not only crisps up the rosemary (perfect for garnishing), but also infuses the olive oil with flavor.

Next, spicy Italian sausage is browned in that oil until it’s sizzling and cooked through. At this point, you’ll want to start cooking the paccheri because the rest of the sauce comes together really quickly.

I included red fresno chile peppers for even more heat and of course a little garlic. White wine and starchy pasta water make up the liquid combination for the sauce. All of this simmers together just in time to combine it with the cooked paccheri.

half-eaten bowl of pasta

An important tip is to cook the paccheri a minute or two less than the package’s instructions so it can finish cooking in the sauce without falling apart.

The final additions are green chard, butter, and pecorino romano cheese. As you continue to stir everything together, the greens wilt, the butter melts, and the cheese incorporates into the dish.

Plated up with roasted hazelnuts and the fried rosemary leaves over top, the flavors and textures of this dish are so exciting and simultaneously comforting.

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Spicy Paccheri with Sausage & Greens

paccheri pasta tossed in a spicy white wine butter sauce with italian sausage, wilted greens, pecorino cheese, roasted hazelnuts, and fried rosemary

servings: 2-4

Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • ½ lb raw spicy italian sausage
  • kosher salt
  • ¾ lb paccheri
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 red fresno chile peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 bunch green chard, stemmed + roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Spread the hazelnuts out onto a sheet pan. Roast for 8-10 minutes, or until deeply golden. Let cool just slightly. Use a kitchen towel to rub off the loose skins. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside.
  3. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the sprig of rosemary. Fry the rosemary for a minute or two until crisp. Transfer the sprig to a paper towel to drain.
  4. Add the sausage to the pot. Use a wooden spoon to break it apart into smaller pieces. Season with a pinch of salt. Continue to cook the sausage until browned, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the paccheri to the pot of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than the package’s instructions.
  5. When the sausage is fully browned, add the garlic and fresno peppers. Stir well and cook for a minute or so. Pour in the white wine. Retrieve a ½ cup of starchy pasta water from the pasta pot and add it in with the wine. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened.
  6. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Stir in the green chard and butter. Continue to stir as the greens wilt, the butter melts, and the sauce begins to cling to the pasta.
  7. Gradually add the grated pecorino, stirring slowly until it incorporates into the sauce. Taste the pasta and season with more salt if needed.
  8. Plate the pasta. Garnish with the roasted hazelnuts and more pecorino. Crumble the fried rosemary leaves over top.

one bowl of spicy paccheri with sausage and greens topped with pecorino cheese and hazelnuts

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