Penne alla Senese

Serves: 4

A fantastic 30-minute meal.

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:


1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound good-quality fresh sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup good-quality walnuts halves, chopped
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 pound sliced prosciutto di parma or another prosciutto crudo, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
1/4 cup brandy or vin santo (tuscan fortified wine)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sage, thinly sliced
1 pound penne rigate (with ridges)
1 cup (4 oz.) grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for serving


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, half a turn of the pan, over medium-high. Add the butter. When it foams, add the sausage and walnuts and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon, until the sausage is cooked through and the mixture is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the shallots and garlic and stir until the shallots soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the prosciutto and rosemary. Stir to heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the brandy and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the cream and sage and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, while the pasta cooks.

Salt the pasta water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving half a mug of cooking water. Toss the pasta and 1 cup cheese into the sauce, adding cooking water as needed to thin the sauce. Serve in shallow bowls, passing more cheese alongside.


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