Orecchiette with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

This is my go to recipe just about every other week. Sometimes every week. Here’s why:

  1. it’s super simple to make
  2. there’s a small list of ingredients
  3. it makes enough for leftovers
  4. it’s flippin delicious and most of all
  5. the kids love it

If you can’t get the orecchiette you could easily substitute small shell pasta. If you do use the orecchiette, you may want to cook it a little bit more than the package says. My kids like their pasta easy to chew. Also, I use 20 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage instead of regular sausage to cut down on the fat. I know its more ounces but I’d rather use the whole package than freeze two links. It tastes just as good and the turkey sausage is a little more tender for the kiddies. If the kids don’t like the heat you can eliminate the crushed red pepper.

courtesy of Food and Wine magazine


1 pound orecchiette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (or sweet or hot Italian Turkey sausage)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 ounces aged provolone, shredded (or Romano or Parmesan, I use what I have in the fridge)


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sausage in 1-inch clumps and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet along with the tomatoes and crushed red pepper; cook over moderately high heat, pressing the tomatoes until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, scraping up any browned bits and crushing the tomatoes, 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 sausage and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook, stirring, until the pasta is evenly coated, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the provolone. Transfer to bowls and serve right away.



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