Orecchiette With Italian Sausage & White Wine Sauce

A hearty, savory pasta with a bright white wine sauce, fresh heirloom tomatoes, and basil.

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This recipe is one I categorize as “easy to impress.” It’s fairly simple to make, but it packs a ton of flavor and doesn’t take a ton of time. It uses only 10 ingredients and is ready in under 45 minutes!

Equipment Notes

This dish starts on the stovetop and finishes in the oven. I used a large enameled cast iron braiser for this recipe, but any large pan that can start on the stove and also go in the oven will do. My braiser is a Le Creuset 5-quart. It’s such a versatile pan, I use it for way more than just braising. If you don’t have a large oven-safe pan, just transfer everything to a large baking dish for the baking portion.

Ingredient Notes

This recipe uses orecchiette, which is a small, round pasta (shaped like little ears). If you can’t find orecchiette, you could use ziti, penne, fusilli, or another shaped pasta of your choice.

I used a mix of hot Italian sausage and sweet Italian sausage for this recipe. You could use all hot, all mild, all sweet, or any combination of your choice.

The heirloom cherry tomatoes are not only delicious, but the colors add a unique profile to the look of this dish. If you can’t find heirloom cherry tomatoes or prefer not to spend as much money, regular cherry tomatoes are fine.

Almost any white wine will do, but don’t use a sweet wine. I’ve made this using a Pinot Grogio, Locations NZ, and a Portugese Vino Verde. Try to choose a wine you’ll drink because you will have s few glasses left over after making the recipe.

Continue reading after the recipe card for step-by-step photos.

Pan of orecchiette with italian sausage and tomatoes. A few slices of baguette in the background.
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5 from 1 vote

Orecchiette With Italian Sausage & White Wine Sauce

A hearty, savory pasta with a bright white wine sauce, fresh heirloom tomatoes, and basil.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baked pasta, easy pasta, orecchiette
Servings: 5 people

Equipment

  • Large oven safe pan (for stovetop and oven)

Ingredients

  • 2⅓ cup orecchiette uncooked
  • 1 lb Italian sausage links casings removed and chopped into pieces
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • cups halved heirloom cherry tomatoes OK to substitute non-heirloom tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic grated
  • 6 leaves fresh basil chopped into ribbons (chiffonade)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • cups white wine do not use a sweet wine
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°, preheat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, and bring pasta water to a boil.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. (Note: If the pasta finishes cooking before you're ready to add it to the pan, drain it and set it aside. Do not rinse.)
  • Meanwhile, cook the Italian sausage, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Move the sausage to the side, ideally in an area without much fat. Add 1 tbsp flour to the pan to make a roux, stirring constantly to mix the flour in to all of the fat from the Italian sausage.
  • Add the white white to the pan. Deglaze the pan by scraping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan while the white wine cooks.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add the garlic, basil, tomatoes, and heavy cream. Stir to combine. The sauce should begin to thicken.
  • Stir in the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
  • Drain the orecchiette. Add to the pan and stir until the sauce coats the pasta.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for about 7 minutes.

Notes

If you don’t have a large oven-safe pan, just transfer everything to a large baking dish for the baking portion of the recipe. 
I used a mix of hot Italian sausage and sweet Italian sausage for this recipe. You could use all hot, all mild, all sweet, or any combination of your choice.

Step-By-Step Photos

Preheat oven to 350°, preheat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, and bring pasta water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions (approx. 15 minutes per the package I used). Meanwhile, cook the Italian sausage, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 10 minutes.

Italian sausage cooking in a pan.

Move the sausage to the side, ideally in an area without much fat. Add 1 tbsp flour to the pan to make a roux, stirring constantly to mix the flour in to all of the fat from the Italian sausage. Add the white white to the pan. Deglaze the pan by scraping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan while the white wine cooks.

Italian sausage with a sauce cooking in a pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the garlic, basil, tomatoes, and heavy cream. Stir to combine. The sauce should begin to thicken. Stir in the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Italian sausage with tomatoes, basil, and a sauce cooking in a pan.

Drain the orecchiette. Note: If the orecchiette finishes cooking before you’re done with the other steps, drain and set aside. Do not rinse.) Add to the pan and stir until the sauce coats the pasta.

Transfer to the oven and bake for about 7 minutes.

Pan of pasta with Italian sausage and tomatoes. Text over the image says Orecchiette With Italian Sausage & White Wine Sauce.
Orecchiette With Italian Sausage & White Wine Sauce

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