There was a restaurant in San Luis Obispo (I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name of it) that served a dish called “Penne Pasta with Salsiccia e Funghi” or something to that effect. It was love at first bite, and unless osso bucco was on the specials menu, I would never order anything else there in all my life. Since I really couldn’t afford to eat at this restaurant on a regular basis, I had no choice but to figure out how to make this dish myself.
Words of Advice
Make sure that you use some sort of flavorful brown mushroom. Portobellos are great (or crimini, which I think are just small portobellos). Shitakes are great. Porcinis or chantrelles are delicious. A mixture of a bunch of different exotic mushrooms is even better. This recipe makes enough for 4 full-sized humans, especially if it’s served as a first course. It’s really good leftover, so if there are just two of you, then you each get lunch the next day!
Penne Pasta with Creamy Sausage-Mushroom Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 Italian sausages, casings removed
1 small can (4 oz) tomato paste
2 tbsp cream or milk
1/4 cup broth
1/2 lb penne, cooked al dente
- Chop onion and heat olive oil in a sauce pan or large skillet; place onion in the pan and sprinkle some salt over the top (just a light sprinkling will do). Stir occasionally.
- When the onion bits are translucent, add the minced garlic. Stir occasionally.
- When the onion and garlic are just beginning to brown, add the mushrooms.
- When the mushrooms have cooked, add the sausage meat (casings have been removed). If you’re using Trader Joe’s sausage or the kind from the regular grocery store, just use one package of hot sausages. I get my sausages from a local vendor and the hot ones are REALLY hot, so I use 2 hot and 2 mild.
- With a wooden spoon or spatula, break up the sausage meat as it cooks.
- When the sausage meat has all browned, add the tomato paste and stir everything thoroughly to remove any of the pasty tomato paste lumps. You may need to add the broth at this time to smooth it all out.
- Cook your pasta.
- Right after you put your pasta in the boiling water, that’s the time to add the cream to the sauce. Stir to incorporate, and then turn off the stove.
- Mix all of the pasta with all of the sauce, scoop into bowls, and then sprinkle some fresh parmesan on top.