Italian Sausage and Porcini Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Flavorful porcini mushrooms combined Italian sausage, caramelized onions, and some greens, make for an easy Italian sausage and porcini rotini dinner. Use the leftovers as a hearty salad the next day as this recipe is as tasty cold as it is warm.
Serves: 4
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces*
  • 1oz dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c porcini water
  • ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt**
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp basil pesto
  • 1-2 c spinach
  • 1 lb rotini pasta
  1. In a small bowl, soak dry porcini mushrooms in warm water for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Heat water to cook pasta in a large stockpot.
  3. In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions, rinsed dry bay leaf, and fennel seeds. Sauté for a few minutes then sprinkle in the baking soda and stir well and frequently to prevent burning; baking soda helps onions caramelize faster. After about 5 minutes, or when the onions are a beautiful, golden hue, add the Italian sausage and brown it over medium heat, stirring often.
  4. At this point, the water for the pasta should be at a rolling boil: cook pasta according to the instruction on the box.
  5. Drain the porcini mushrooms by hand, squeezing any liquid out into the bowl they soaked in. Give them a rough chop and add to the sausage. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until garlic releases its flavor. Slowly pour in the mushroom water and turn the heat up so sausage and mushroom simmer while the pasta is cooking. Season with salt and pepper and dissolve basil pesto in the sausage.
  6. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and return to the stockpot. Add a few tablespoons of sauce out of the skillet to the pasta and stir. If you’d like a bit more sauce in the skillet, add ½ to 1 cup of pasta water, a tablespoon at the time, to the skillet and stir well. Stir the spinach in, letting it barely cook and then toss in the pasta or serve the sausage with sauce over pasta.
*Cut only if using sausage links. If using Italian sausage in bulk, quickly roll individual balls out, roughly ¾” big.
**If using unsalted sausage, taste for salt at the end and add more salt if desired.
***Reheats well. It’s best reheated in a greased skillet on the stove.
Recipe by Food Smart Mom at