Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage Sauce

For my birthday, my in-laws gave me a package of triciloured orecchiette (little ear shaped pasta), and having never cooked with this type of pasta before, I was immediately captivated. To feature the pasta, we decided to blend two concepts from prior recipes (“Red” and Spicy Sausage and Peppers). From the Red, we borrowed a healthy dose of vegetables and loose sausage…and from the spicy sausage dish, we borrowed the heat from the meat choice and the serving style (atop the pasta rather than mixed in).

As with most of our dishes, this one is completely customizable too. We picked onions, mushrooms, and spinach as our primary vegetables…but zucchini, red peppers, eggplant, and/or Tuscan Kale (all diced into tiny pieces) would work very well too. You can also add red pepper flakes to your sauce if you want to kick the spice up a notch or two!

Time: 40 Minutes


  • Orecchiette Pasta
  • Hot Italian Sausage (raw, poultry or pork). We bought ours cased and removed the casing.
  • Canned Tomatoes. (You can also use store-bought, diced or stewed)
  • Baby Spinach
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Honey or White Sugar
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Topping cheese of your choice. We used Pecorino Romano.


  • Begin to boil some water with a little salt and olive oil in a large pot.
  • As your water heats, peel your garlic. Then, dice your onion, mushrooms, and garlic.
  • Heat some olive oil in a large pan, and when it’s hot, add your onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Allow to cook until your onions become opaque, and your mushrooms begin to soften and darken in color.
  • As your veggies cook, remove the casing from your sausages. We generally cut a lengthwise incision in the sausages and then just peel the casing off.
  • When your veggies are ready, add your sausage to the pan, and sprinkle in your basil and oregano. Break the sausage into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Once your sausage has browned, puree your tomatoes in a food processor, and add them to your pan.
  • Add your sugar/honey and spinach to the pan, and allow everything to simmer to thicken and build the richness of flavour.
  • Carefully drop your pasta into the boiling water, and cook until it reaches your desired level of doneness.
  • When your pasta is done, drain, and plate.
  • Scoop your sauce atop your pasta, and adorn with your cheese of choice.
  • Devour, and enjoy!


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