PrimoGrano Penne Rustiche with Sausage & Zucchini
This rustic pasta dish was inspired by an unforgettable bite our resident recipe writer Asha experienced on a recent trip to Abruzzo. It combines grated zucchini—gently cooked in lots of extra virgin olive oil until meltingly tender—with fennel-flecked Italian sausage and plenty of sharp Pecorino Romano cheese. Yum!
Bonus: It's a breeze to make and comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Asha says: Don't forget to pour yourself a glass of rosé while you cook!
Recipe by Asha Loupy
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 4 (as a first course), or 2 (as a main course)
- 6 ounces PrimoGrano Penne Rustiche Pasta from Rustichella d'Abruzzo
- One sweet Italian sausage (about 3 1/2–4 ounces), casing removed
- 1/4 cup medium-bodied Italian extra virgin olive oil, like Tondo DOP, plus more for finishing
- 2 medium zucchini (about a 1/2 pound total), grated on the large side of the grater
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated, plus more for finishing
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, according to the package, until al dente.
While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, make the sausage and zucchini sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the sausage, breaking it up into crumbles. Cook the sausage until it is fully cooked and just starting to brown. Transfer the cooked sausage crumbles to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet and return it to the stove over medium heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and grated zucchini, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook the zucchini until it is tender and cooked through, about 10–15 minutes. Add the reserved sauasge and reduce the heat to low until the pasta is cooked.
Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
Turn up the heat under the zucchini and sausage to medium high and add the cooked pasta and a 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, tossing to coat the pasta in the sauce (if the sauce is too thick, add another splash or two of the pasta cooking water until the sauce reaches the desired consistency). Turn off the heat and add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese, tossing to coat and emulsify the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as necessary.
Transfer the sauced pasta to a serving bowl, or individual bowls, and finish with an extra drizzle of good Italian extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano.