Italian sausage & chestnut pasta

Italian sausage & chestnut pasta

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(12 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 30 mins

Skill level



Serves 6

A mix of sausagemeat and chestnut chunks creates a rich and nutty pasta sauce, lifting this from an everyday dish to something special

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • sauce only
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 450g pack Lincolnshire sausages, meat squeezed out
  • 200g vacuum-packed chestnuts from a can or jar, very roughly chopped (see tip, below)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 glass full-bodied red wine
  • 500g carton passata
  • 500g large pasta shells or pappardelle
  • small pack curly parsley, finely chopped
  • Parmesan or Grana Padano, to serve

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  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and fry the onion for 5 mins. Once starting to soften, add the sausagemeat and chestnuts, and fry for another 10-12 mins, breaking the meat up with a wooden spatula or spoon as you fry it. Keep the heat quite high and stir often.
  2. When the meat and chestnuts are golden brown, add the garlic, rosemary and fennel seeds, and cook for 2 mins more. Splash in the wine, let most of it boil away, then tip in the passata. Cover and simmer the sauce for 10 mins while you boil the pasta in plenty of salted water, following pack instructions.
  3. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta well. Toss the pasta, 3 tbsp of the water, the ragu and most of the parsley together, then season to taste. Share between bowls, add a grinding of black pepper, the remaining parsley, then a handful of Parmesan shavings.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2013

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bsbdesja's picture
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Totally delicious! had it with a boiled corn on the cob rather than pasta to cut down on the carbs. Really special, the chestnuts absolutely make it!

delsh21's picture
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I made this last night for Sunday night dinner and it was amazing. I followed the recipe to the letter and couldn't believe that such a simple list of ingredients, and such an easy recipe could turn out to taste so great! As someone else commented, it is a restaurant quality dish and is better than a lot of ragus I've had at some fancy Italian restaurants. This will have a firm place on our household's regular menu. Portion wise, it is either 3 generous portions or 4 normal, perfectly adequate portions. I have the third portion for lunch today and I cannot wait to eat it again!

KingOfTheLilies's picture
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I made this exactly as stated (and managed to get it to 6 decent sized portions with the promise of dessert) with the exception of the sausages. I used Toulouse sausages this time, and they were great, next time I'll use the Lincolnshire as a variation.

jennypiccolo's picture

Unfortunately my family hated this. The children couldn't stand the chestnuts but they didn't like the flavour anyway. Thumbs down all round because the fennel was too overpowering. I thought it was ok,but the majority went in th bin.

suziesoux's picture

I made this for my husband who lived and worked in Northern Italy. He loves it, and told me it's authentic and restaurant quality!! I'll be making this again and again.

EmmaLisa123's picture

I love this recipe, and pretty much lived off it last Autumn and Winter shortly after the birth of my baby. I'm looking forward to the weather getting cooler so we can cook it again...

katyrouth's picture
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Really deep flavours, even better for slow simmering and re-heating the next day. Would serve six, but only just!

alexandra. s88's picture
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Went down with the family quite well. Interesting flavours and overall a filling, quick and easy to make dish. Used herby sausages, left the wine out and substituted pasta shells for fresh egg pasta and it still tasted nice! Made it for husband and 1,5 year old so plenty left for lunch tomorrow. Great recipe!

mikeydread's picture

Excellent food... My type of cooking this is, simple, rich and filling :-)

NB88's picture

I agree with badzilla that this would probably not be enough for 6 people, however it can easily feed 4 if you don't need big portions. I really loved this recipe - the flavours were extremely rich and intense. On this occasion I added some cayenne pepper and crushed chillis whilst cooking the sausage to give it a bit of heat and next time round I may add a small amount of water to the sauce as it was quite thick without it, but other than that I wouldn't dream of modifying it unless I had to. Unfortunately my shopping delivery substituted the chestnuts I ordered for walnuts so I crushed the walnuts into smaller pieces and used them instead and it still created a lovely meal, but I think chestnuts would be even better. Additionally I wasn't able to order the fennel seeds so went with added around 4 whole star anise which I then removed at the end of cooking. Highly recommend making this dish as you won't be disappointed!

badzilla's picture

This really is excellent and I loved it. A minor criticism (which thankfully didn't come into play for me) is there is no way there would be enough food for 6 people. I would say 4 at a pinch, but since I was making for two with the intention of having leftovers I was ok. I have created a recipe review blog with photographs at

badzilla's picture

I've now made this for a second time, only with the suggested fennel seeds which I omitted first time around. I can confirm the recipe is all the better for it. My blog contains two photos - one with mini shells (first attempt) and second with the preferred larger shells conchiglioni rigati