You can always count me in for pasta! This Sausage Zucchini and Mushroom Pasta is hella adaptable depending on what you have at home; kale, spinach, olives, and peppers are all great substitutions or add-ins.
My ideal version of this recipe uses a combination of both sweet and spicy Italian sausage. My neighborhood butcher’s hot Italian sausage is crazy spicy, so I skip the red pepper flakes unless I’m using sweet Italian sausage. Use your best judgement the first time you make this recipe and then experiment from there.
Sausage Zucchini and Mushroom Pasta
- 1 large pot
- 1 large and deep skillet
- 1 grater
- 1 wooden spoon
- ¾ lb pasta rigatoni or penne suggested
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 Italian sausages mild, sweet, spicy, or a combo, casings removed
- 1 cup onion yellow or white; chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ tsp red chili flakes optional
- ½ lb cremini mushrooms stems trimmed and sliced
- 2 small zucchini halved lengthwise and cut into ½ inch slices
- 1 cup small variety tomatoes grape, cherry, or San Marzano; halved
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more for salting the pasta water
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ cup fresh basil torn
- Parmigiano-Reggiano finely grated; for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
- Warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a wide bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and crushed red pepper (if using) and cook until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
- Add the sausage (casings removed), and break into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until sausage is browned an no pink remains, about 6 minutes.
- When the water reaches a rolling boil, add 2 tbsp of salt, and stir. When the water reaches a roaring boil, add the pasta; cook as per package instructions until just shy of al dente. Don't overcook the pasta!! It will finish cooking in the sauce.
- Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms have released most of their liquid, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and tomato paste; stir until tomato paste is incorporated, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add zucchini and dried oregano; cook for 5 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, remembering to reserve ½ cup starchy pasta water. Toss hot pasta back into the pot and mix well with the sauce. Add in pasta water 1 tbsp at a time, as needed.
- Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil. Divide among pasta bowls and garnish with finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano and some fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately!