Easy, simple, and super tasty Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes will soon be your weeknight go-to dinner recipe. 

Who does not love one-dish meals? So easy, tasty, and, let’s face it, so easy to clean up.

This orecchiette pasta recipe will not disappoint you. Rich in flavor and the perfect comfort food.

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Orecchiette Pasta With Sausage And Tomatoes

This straightforward dish is so easy to prepare that by time the pasta is ready, you will be able to sit at your table and enjoy it.

In this Article

What is orecchiette pasta good for?

The round concave pasta shape leads to the name of Orecchiette, or little ears in Italian.

The shape of the pasta is cup-like and captures the sauce wonderfully inside the small cup. Originally from the southern region of Italy, Puglia.

What is pasta al dente?

Al dente, translated as “to the tooth,” al dente is an Italian term used to describe the perfect consistency of pasta when cooked. Firm when bitten without being rigid. Therefore, you can still feel the pasta under your bite or chalky.

Therefore, it is a couple of minutes before the manufacturer-recommended cooking time.

The above method is used when cooking your pasta with a sauce after that.

By not cooking it all the way thru, you give yourself enough room to have your pasta cooked to perfection instead of too mushy, which is unpleasant. 

Orecchiette Pasta With Sausage And Tomatoes

Why fresh tomatoes?

The fresh tomatoes added to the mild Italian sausage with a hint of fennel are a fantastic combination.

Mild and sweet with lots of boldness. Most of all, not so much fat as its counterparts.

It brings the right amount of juice and acidity to your dish. 

Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed to make this orecchiette pasta recipe

This is a quick introduction. Please read the recipe for complete instructions.

Orecchiette pasta: The star of this dish. If you do not have any on hand, tubular pasta will do. You want to sauce with the sausage to be eaten with your pasta.

Olive oil: Used to cook the tomatoes 

Mild Italian Sausage: Most Italian sausages have fennel, giving a great flavor to your dish. If you like it hot, use a hot sausage to your liking. 

Fresh tomatoes: Large tomatoes that you will cut into chunks and cook until soft but not falling apart

Parmigiano Reggiano: The only cheese to serve with a traditional orecchiette recipe.

Orecchiette Pasta With Sausage And Tomatoes

Cooking tips and step-by-step to make this excellent orecchiette with sausage recipe

This recipe will go relatively fast; therefore, have all your ingredients ready to start the sauce as soon as you put the water up to cook the orecchiette.

  • Start by bringing a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orecchiette to al dente, one to two minutes before re recommended cooking time suggested by the pasta manufacturer.
  • Reserve a 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  • While the pasta is cooking, start working on your sauce
  • Press into the casing of the sausage to remove the interior sausage meat.
  • Separate the sausage into small chunks, bite-size, and add them to a skillet. Cook them over medium-high heat; they need to cook but not burn.
  • Once nicely browned, remove them from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Remove all the grease from the skillet, and add the olive oil and tomato chunks to start your tomato sauce. 
  • Cook the tomatoes until the liquid is reduced by half and the tomatoes are nearly broken down.
  • Add the orecchiette pasta to the skillet as well as the sausage.
  • Mix well and add more cooking water if it is too dry.
  • Once all is well incorporated, add the parmesan cheese. 

Serve piping hot. And as they say in Italy: You wait for the pasta, the pasta does not wait for you.

Even though the pasta may be off the stove heat, it will continue cooking. The longer it waits to be served. The overcooked it will become.

Orecchiette Pasta With Sausage And Tomatoes

Storage and reheating

If you are lucky to have some leftovers, save them in an air-tight glass container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

To reheat, bring back to room temperature, place the orecchiette into a skillet, and add a couple of tablespoons of water and a dot of butter.

Warm up slowly and add more water if need be.

Fresh chopped tomato can be added to the skillet, and once it is slightly cooked, add the orecchiette pasta and warm it to your liking. You will enjoy the texture and consistency.

Substitutions

Mild sausage can be substituted with hot sausage. 

Orecchiette pasta can be substituted with small tubular pasta such as rigatoni mezzi or penne.

Fresh tomatoes can be replaced by any tomato: Campari or cherry. Watch the cooking process, as the small tomatoes tend to cook faster and break down quickly.

If you enjoyed this orecchiette with sausage and tomatoes recipe, check out these flavorful recipes:

Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Zaatar

Pasta with Peas and Italian Sausage

Farfalle with Ricotta and Peas

Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes

5 from 5 votes
Orecchiette Pasta With Sausage And Tomatoes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Easy, simple, and super tasty Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes will soon be your weeknight go-to dinner recipe.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound pasta, orecchiette
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced in large chunks
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Instructions

  • In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the orecchiette pasta until they are al dente. Drain and reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water.
  • Separate the Italian sausage into small bite-size chunks and add them to a large skillet. Cook on medium-high heat until nicely browned and cooked through. About 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate. Discard all excess grease released from the sausage.
  • Return the skillet to the stove and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes and. cook over medium-low heat. The tomatoes are ready when soft but not falling apart.
  • Cook until the liquid is reduced by half and the tomatoes are nearly broken down, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the skillet along with the cooked sausage and stir until the pasta is well coated. Add some of the cooking. water if too dry.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded Parmigiano cheese.
  • Transfer to bowls and serve right the way.

Notes

Storage and reheating
If you are lucky to have some leftovers, save them in an air-tight glass container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
To reheat, bring back to room temperature, place the orecchiette into a skillet, and add a couple of tablespoons of water and a dot of butter.
Warm up slowly and add more water if need be.
You can also add a chopped-up fresh tomato to the skillet, and once it is slightly cooked, add the orecchiette pasta and warm it to your liking. 
Substitutions
Mild sausage can be substituted with hot sausage. 
Orecchiette pasta can be substituted with small tubular pasta such as rigatoni mezzi or penne.
Fresh tomatoes can be replaced by any tomato: Campari or cherry. Watch the cooking process; the small tomatoes tend to cook faster and break down quickly.

Nutrition

Calories: 808kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 857mg | Potassium: 569mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 420IU | Vitamin C: 6.8mg | Calcium: 211mg | Iron: 2.7mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Originally published on March 19, 2020. Updated on May 4, 2023.