Guess who’s in the kitchen? The boyfriend! I love when he cooks for me… this time he’s making pasta with Italian sausage and zucchini. We are lucky to be able to find zucchini quite easily here so he makes this dish very often. We normally use fresh Italian sausage from our butcher but you can use any other type you prefer. But not wurst, get fresh sausage so you can remove it from the casing and break it into small pieces. Fresh sausages are full of flavours and like this you can spread those flavours into the sauce and pasta.
Sausages are widely used in Italian cuisine, both as a main ingredient and to add flavor to dishes. It’s very versatile and that’s what makes it a very popular choice in several recipes. Sausages are either grilled or served with a bean stew or cooked fennel, used to top pizza, stirred into pasta or served simply with a creamy polenta. There are many different regional dishes which use sausage; from Gramigna in Bologna, a special kind of pasta served with sausages and cream, to Tastasa, a rice and sausage dish popular in Verona.
Italian sausages are typically made from pork and seasoned with fennel and spices. It’s thought that they were first made in the ancient district of Lucania, southern Italy. It is believed these sausages were introduced to Ancient Rome by Lucan slaves or troops. The Ancient Romans loved their exquisite flavour and how easy it was to transport and store them.
We use sausages a lot in our house: always present on our BBQs, in several pasta dishes, in stews, roasts, you name it. And this pasta with Italian sausage and zucchini is a good example of what happens in our kitchen 🙂
Pasta with Italian sausage and zucchini
- 170 g of dry pasta 85g per person such as penne or rigatoni
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 zucchini ends trimmed, sliced into 0.5cm round or half round
- 1/2 a large yellow onion thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 Italian sausages casings removed and broken into small chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
- Bring a large pot of generously-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, place a large bottom pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, then add sausage and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes (breaking it up as you go) until browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.
- Return the pan to the heat. Add an extra tablespoon of olive oil, add the bay leaf and the onion and cook for 2 mins.
- Add in the zucchini and continue cooking for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is cooked.
- Add in white wine and stir the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
- Put the sausage back in the pan and cook for another 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, and then drain pasta.
- Add the pasta to the pan with the sausage and zucchini along with the fresh basil and a final tablespoon of olive oil.
- Stir and cook for about a minute before serving, adding in the extra pasta water for moisture.
- Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.