Wine and Walnuts

A blog about eating, drinking, cooking and reading in the not so Deep South

Food and Wine Pairing: Penne with Creamy Tomato and Sausage Sauce, and 2006 Castellani Chianti Superiore

Penne with Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce

Penne with Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce

Hmmmm, Saturday night.  I feel like when I do have the gumption to make a home-cooked meal lately, it’s usually on a Saturday night.  Why is this?  I reckon it’s because I have the entire day to prep, unlike on a weekday. That is, I have all day to: while away much time perusing recipes on, look up and pore over wine pairing suggestions, shop for recipe ingredients, and troll wine store shelves for the perfect wine to match. Up to here we’re at around 5-6 hours, minimum. Then there’s prepping it all.  Which for me means methodically mincing the garlic, grating the cheese, chopping the onions, and measuring each and every ingredient, all before actually beginning the process of cooking. Very anal-retentive, but I can’t seem to not do it this way.  My goal is to get to the point where I can fly by the seat of my pants more, tossing around ingredients and improvising as I go along, as carefree as you please, with no thought to timing everything just so, and still turn out an excellent meal.

I have to say, though, this recipe is one of my greatest successes so far — it turned out so well.  All hearty, rib-sticking, rich/creamy/sausage-y goodness.  I highly recommend it — it’s pretty easy, and the result is a rich, delicious meal that will please pasta lovers and meat lovers, too.  It’s darn near perfect for a cold winter evening.  

Wine:  2006 Castellani Chianti Superiore Antiche Tenute Burchino

2006 Castellini Chianti Superiore

2006 Castellini Chianti Superiore

Basic Info:
Varietal: Sangiovese Blend
Designation: Antiche Tenute Burchino
Country: Italy  Region: Tuscany  SubRegion: Chianti
Appellation: Chianti Superiore
Where purchased:  Temptations Everyday Gourmet, Porter’s Neck location
Cost:  Under $20

Italian reds are very food-friendly.  As a rule, it’s good to have a couple bottles of Chianti or other like-Italian red on hand, because you can match these wines with many, many dishes.  This Chianti was a near-perfect match for this dish, with it’s tomatoes, cream sauce and sausage.  Lovely!

About Chianti (from
Chianti is a large region that produces a wide range of styles. From the basic Chianti to the finest Chianti Classico Riservas, some elements of the wines remain consistent. The wines are based on the Sangiovese grape, which typically yields a medium-bodied wine with strawberry and cherry fruits that are accented with delicate notes of green herb, dusty soil, leather and spice. While Chianti can be produced exclusively from Sangiovese, the vast majority of Chianti is blended with a small percentage of other grapes.

Recipe:  Penne with Creamy Tomato and Sausage Sauce (from


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 cup whipping cream
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice with Italian seasonings
1 tablespoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3/4 pound fettuccine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


· Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
· Add shallots and garlic and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
· Add sausages and sauté until no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes.
· Add cream; simmer 5 minutes.
· Add tomatoes with juices, sage and crushed red pepper. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
· Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
· Return pasta to same pot; add sauce.
· Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry. Season with salt and pepper.
· Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with cheese and serve.


· I bought my Italian sausage pre-ground, so as not to have to remove casings and all that jazz (this will shave a couple minutes or more off the whole process), and, so I could buy exactly one pound, and no more. The packages of whole sausages were all more than a pound, and I did not want to have sausage leftovers!
· It took about twice the length of time the recipe calls for to cook the pink out of the sausage; it was right around 10 minutes for me.  I’m sure this will vary depending on your cook top.

After just one bite, my first thought was, “sweet Italian sausage, that’s good!!”   : )

Bon Appetit!

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About The Author

Kimberly Houston


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