My Favorite Pasta


It could be said that one doesn’t need a book on pasta to cook pasta. I mean, start with garlic, add fresh tomatoes and basil to pasta, and you’ve got a fabulous dish. Add some Italian sausage and Parmesan to it and it gets even better. No recipe required.

But then, one could say that about a lot of different kinds of cooking. Especially everyday cooking, because often the recipes are created based on what you just picked up at the grocery store and what’s in your pantry.

But I have many Italian cookbooks, as well as pasta cookbooks, and it’s the only way to discover traditional recipes and unique ingredients.

One of my favorite Italian cookbook authors is Giuliano Bugialli. And this pasta recipe comes from his cookbook, Bugialli on Pasta, published in 1988. He’s especially funny to me because he abhors Americans who put cheese on all forms of pasta. He gets quite indignant about it, in fact.


Fortunately, he has never visited me in my kitchen to see what I do and don’t do with pasta, because although I love his recipe, I’ve also adapted it. And, I serve it with cheese. The original recipe in the book is called Malloreddus alla Campidanese, or Sardinian Pasta with Sausages.

This is a photograph of his actual recipe using the “correct” pasta called malloreddus. I’ve always thought that this pasta shape looks like maggots! But I finally got my hands on some so that’s what I’m using!


This is Malloreddus.

If you can’t find malloreddus, or find them too maggotty, use any ruffly pasta shape like radiatore or trumpets.

So here is my slight adaptation of Mr. Bugialli’s recipe.

Pasta Alla Campidanese
Pasta with Sausages

12 ounces pasta of choice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 26.46 carton (Pomi brand) chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried basil (during winter months)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch saffron
1/3 cup cream
Freshly grated Parmesan
Fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded (during summer months)

Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. When the water boils, add the pasta, and cook according to package directions. Then pour everything into a large colander.

Pour the olive oil in the same pot that you used to cook the pasta. Heat it over medium high heat, then add the sausage. Use fairly large pieces; you don’t want it to look like ground sausage. Cook until well browned, then remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and place the sausage in a bowl.

Turn down the heat slightly, then add the onion to the pot and sauté for about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and stir for about 10 seconds, then add the tomatoes.

Give everything a stir, and cook for about 5 minutes to reduce slightly. You don’t want to reduce too much; you want extra sauce so the noodles can absorb it. Then add salt, saffron, and dried basil, if using. Stir well.

Stir it in, then add the sausage to the sauce. Cook for a few minutes, then add the cream.

Then add the pasta. Stir well but gently to combine.

Serve hot, topped with grated Parmesan and fresh basil, if available.

In reality, pasta puttanesca is my personal favorite, but it’s not for everybody. This recipe with Italian sausage and the red sauce is more generally enjoyed by everyone.

I like to prepare the pasta about an hour before serving, so the pasta has a chance to soak up the lovely sauce.

This pasta reheats pretty well, but you might have to add some broth or more cream and heat on the stove gently and slowly.

Besides the Parmesan, it’s really good topped with cayenne chile pepper flakes.

63 thoughts on “My Favorite Pasta

  1. If you haven’t been already, next time you are in the UK go to the River Cafe ( which serves some of the best Italian food in the UK. They have some recipe books as well with the blue one being the most famous but there are others that they might have in USA measures.

  2. Pasta all year long is a favorite and this version is perfect with all the essential ingredients. I like the pinch of saffron added! You’re right that pasta is funny looking and I see what you saw – might have to choose a different shape :)

  3. OMG! Maggoty? Will I ever be able to unsee that? I sure hope so because this recipe looks wonderful! A perfect winter meal. I have to agree with you about cheese on pasta, it is so delicious!

    • Yes, I agree. No bully Italian is going to keep me from putting Parm on my pasta!!! Sorry about the maggot comment, but for over 20 years I’ve never sought out the pasta shape because of that!!!

  4. So funny about the “maggot” pasta. That’s what I will forever think of now. This recipe of yours looks so enticing and I love “with all my heart” that you are a rebel about cheese on Italian dishes. I must be too American, but I’m okay with that! haha

  5. Hi Mimi,
    What a great recipe! It has all of the elements of a perfect pasta dish, even with maggots! Ha. They do look sort of like maggots in the picture, but I bet they taste great. They sort of look like a version of gnocchi. Thanks for your great pics and instructions.

    • They do look gnocchi-like, but are a dried pasta. In his picture the pasta looks smaller, which I think helps make them look maggotty! This is a fabulous recipe, no matter what pasta shape!

    • I know. It’s a fabulous combination. And cheese! His pasta look smaller, and more curly, which makes them look more maggotty to me!

  6. Haven’t tried this shape of pasta yet. I don’t mind the “maggoty” part of it, and love the addition of saffron it it, but usually prefer less dense types.
    I’ve recently discovered mafalda pasta, and think it can work well with this recipe. I would definitely add lots of Parmesan cheese on top! :)

  7. I can see and I know that this pasta sauce is fabulous. I haven’t eaten pasta for many years … I know, I know…. and I love pasta with sauce. But I can make all the sauces and have them with vegetables. I know — life dishes out some raw deals!! But there’s no reason that I have to miss out on the tastiest part.

    Thanks Mimi this looks lovely … and I would love to eat the ‘maggots’. :))

  8. Interesting, the photo from the book does have chunks of sausage. I’ve had Malloreddus alla Campidanese several times in Sardinia and the sausage was always crumbled. Grated cheese is usually served on the side. I like to use Sardinian pecorino for this, but in restaurants they also served regular parmigiano.

    • That’s what casu marzu is made from! All you need is the special fly species… Maybe the bigger pieces of sausage just look better, although I understand the “authentic” aspect to your comment!

  9. I must be honest and say that malloreddus is a new type of pasta to me. I love discovering new types of pasta! However, now that you mentioned maggots, I don’t think I’ll be able to get that out of my head. Ick. Rotini or penne it is! And no cheese? Psh. Almost every pasta dish can benefit from a quick grating of Parmesan cheese once all is said and done.

    • I totally agree with you on the cheese! I used to make this dish with radiatore, which is a nice bite-sized pasta shape with pretty ruffles. Perfect for a sauce!

  10. I just shudder every time you use the “M” word!! But his pic, especially looks that way! Other than that the recipe sounds amazing! I love the little finish of cream but if you’re gonna do that why not cheese!!???

  11. I really enjoyed this post, Mimi. I have one of Giuliano Bugialli’s books and haven’t opened it in far too long. (Thank you for this reminder!) You’re funny about him not visiting you in your kitchen. ;-) I love it. I actually can’t really imagine serving pasta without cheese. I also giggled at the word “maggoty.” I see what you mean, but it’s a cool pasta shape regardless. What a delicious recipe that I must make soon. Cheers! :-) ~Valentina

    • Thank you Valentina! Bugialli was amazing, and his books are incredible. I have a few. He’s very serious! I’m glad my post amused you! The recipe is really good, though!!! Maggots 🙄

  12. Mimi, we have the same favorite pasta! I love pasta with sausage. Ok, so we don’t have exactly the same favorite, since this particular recipe is new to me, but I already know that I will love it. I love to add cheese to a pastas like this, but I’m actually pretty OK without it.

  13. You are so funny. I have to agree with you on the visuals. But when it comes to pasta…maggoty or not, it is always a winner. I like your adaptation of this delicious recipe. And yes… please pass the cheese.

  14. I love Bugialli (and his indignation) and hav that book from before my dreaded allergy. I remember making this before malloredus were available in the US! I think I served it with ziti. I need to get his book back out revisit some of his stuff!

    PS – I am working on moving C&L to WordPress – so excited! (And scared!)

    • Hahahaha – that’s cause we’re both old! (Although I think I’m a year older than you…) Ziti works. His books are so impressive, but he did always make me laugh. I didn’t realize you weren’t on WordPress. I like it, but I don’t do much with it! Good luck!

    • Cheese belongs on pasta! Most dishes, anyway. Can you believe that cheese?!! I was served it (that wasn’t my photo) by my great aunt and at 18, I nearly fainted. But even now I wouldn’t appreciate maggoty cheese!

  15. My favourite is also puttanesca and agree it is not for everybody. Since I don’t like my pasta to soak too much of sauce ( any kind ) I keep it separate and combine, as needed, before eating; adding more liquids ( or cheese hahahahaha ) spoils the joy of eating. At least to my taste. Love large pieces of sausage here. Thank you dear Mimi !

    • Thank you! That’s interesting about the pasta. And I’m the opposite. If I do cook pasta al dente, it’s for the purpose of the pasta soaking up the sauce, to soften the pasta without it overcooking. I never thought of the pasta and sauce as separate entities!

    • It kinda sucks getting older, doesn’t it?!! (I only say that because I remember we are the same age.) I can barely look at carbs any more. If food just didn’t taste so darn good!!!

  16. I’ve never seen that kind of “maggotty” pasta (lol) here. I do love this authentic Italian dish Mimi. I think Lynne would need me to make it with (as you’ve suggested) another kind of pasta like radiatore or trumpets. Otherwise she’d complain of what the pasta reminded her of!

    • The Malloreddus I purchased isn’t quite so maggotty! The photo in the book really looks awful! But it’s a wonderful pasta dish, no matter what shape of pasta you choose!

  17. I share your appreciation for both Bugialli and this lovely pasta dish. Bugialli didn’t get the recognition he deserved, perhaps because he could be a bit priggish at times. I’m sure that turned a lot of people off. But he was a top notch expert of Italian cooking and his book on pasta really was a masterwork.

    As for the maloreddus, it never occurred to me that they resembled a bug but now that you mention it… Either way, I do like the bigger sized ones you found for your post. Besides the visuals I bet they have a nicer mouth feel, too.

    • Priggish seems like the perfect word! I would have come up with something not quite as nice! He certainly seems like an expert, and man, I bet he had quite the ego. He probably even pissed off fellow Italians. But I still refer to his books. To me he’s just a big buffoon! Did you know he would never divulge his age?!!

  18. YUM!!!! This looks absolutely delicious! So many of my favorite things here–pasta, tomatoes, cream, onion, garlic, parmesan. This is definitely my kind of recipe! And I so agree–even if something like pasta is a meal you can make without a cookbook, there is so much to learn and be inspired from when we take the time to educate ourselves with good cookbooks. And you’ve inspired me to read this one by Bugialli, I’ll have to check it out!

    • I wonder if you can even find this cookbook – it’s probably older than you are! He was quite a resource, but there are so many experts of Italian regional cuisines these days. Definitely fabulous ingredients in this pasta.

    • I love it, and ironically, just posted on it when I realized my original post evaporated into the www. No, i don’t taste saffron. I’ve thought about “proofing” it in hot water first, but just never do.

Leave a Reply. I love 'em!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.