This unique pasta recipe uses a combination of sun-dried tomatoes, orange zest and fresh sage (or basil) as subtle complements the distinctive flavor of fennel in Italian sausage.
You may think the orange zest is an odd addition, but oranges are grown in the warm, sunny climate of Southern Italy and are often used in both sweet and savory dishes. The touch of sweet citrus flavor we get from the orange zest in this dish is a delicious addition and our favorite part of this recipe.
We love to use fresh sage in this dish and generally add the full amount called for in the ingredient list, but if you don’t care for sage, basil is equally delicious and works just as well with the other ingredients. Regardless of which you prefer, use fresh as opposed to dried for best results.
Pasta with Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Orange
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage, chicken, turkey or pork, removed from the casing
- 10 ounces pasta, rotini, fusilli, penne, cavatappi
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- Zest and juice of 1/2 large orange
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chiffonade of fresh sage or basil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon cream or half-and-half
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cook 1 minute longer, then add the sausage.
- Continue cooking until the sausage is lightly browned, using a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces as it cooks. If necessary, drain the excess fat from the pan.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes, orange zest, orange juice and chicken broth. Add the fresh sage (or basil) and continue cooking, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced slightly, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the butter and cream and combine until the butter is melted and the sausage is nicely coated with the sauce. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions. Combine with the sausage mixture, plate and serve immediately.