Whenever I’m at the store and see a pasta I’ve never made before, I always buy it. Especially if it is a trafilata en bronzo. This paccheri with sausage and leeks is super easy to make, and a delicious way to cook this large tubular pasta.
Paccheri is a large, tubular pasta from Campania, Italy. It is quite similar in style to rigatoni, although much larger. It can also be smooth or ridged, the latter being called paccheri rigate. As mentioned earlier, I try to always use trafilata en bronzo, especially for dry pasta. This gives the pasta a bit of a rough exterior and helps the sauce stick beautifully.
If you don’t feel like using paccheri pasta for this recipe, go ahead and substitute any other pasta you want. Even fresh homemade pasta will work in this recipe. The main focus of this tasty recipe is the sausage and leeks tomato sauce.
How To Make Paccheri With Sausage and Leeks
This recipe is enough for about four people, but you can easily scale it up or down. This pasta with sausage and leeks also stores well, so feel free to put leftovers in a container and into the fridge for a couple days if needed.
- 500 grams Paccheri Rigate – you can use any pasta you want, this is just the one I used to make this dish. I do always recommend using high quality dry pasta if you can; it makes a world of difference.
- 3 Italian Sausages – these are the type of raw sausage in casing you get at the butcher. You can use more if you want to make an even meatier sauce.
- 500 grams Tomato Puree
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 large Leek – finely sliced
- 2 medium Yellow Onions – diced
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt – plus more for the pasta water
- 5 cloves Garlic – thinly sliced or minced
- Black Pepper – freshly cracked, to taste
- Green Onion – chopped, for garnish
- Lemon Juice – a light squeeze on the sauce before adding the pasta can elevate the dish, but just be careful because if your sauce is already very acidic this could put it over the top.
- Red Chili Flakes – use as much as you want if you prefer to make a spicy tomato sauce like an arrabbiata
- Heavy Cream – this will turn the sauce into more of an orange sauce. I often add cream for the richness; in this recipe I eyeballed around half a cup.
- Grated Cheese – go ahead and grate some Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano over the finished pasta before serving it.
- Cured Egg Yolk – I often grate over some cured egg yolk on pasta dishes instead of hard cheese as I feel it adds a different type of umami experience. Go ahead and try it for yourself.
Start by adding a bit of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Add in the chopped onions and sweat them down for about 10 minutes. They will release a lot of water but retain their oniony sweetness.
Once the onions begin to brown slightly you can add the sausage meat. I just peel it from the casing and pinch off pieces to drop right in. Give the pan a stir so the sausage begins to cook.
Add the garlic and leeks and stir everything together in the pan. You can also add a pinch of salt to help along the process. If you are adding chili flakes to the sauce then this is a good time to add them as well.
Let the leeks cook down in the sausage and onion for about 10 minutes. There should be quite a bit of liquid in the pan because of the fat from the sausage and the water from the onion and leeks. This is okay, just keep stirring until it is all almost evaporated. If there isn’t much liquid at all you might be cooking on too high a flame. Add a quarter cup of water and reduce the heat.
Finally add the tomato puree and tomato paste to the pan. Give everything a stir and raise the heat to medium-high. We want to reduce the sauce as it will be quite runny with the puree. Go ahead and give a taste and see if you should adjust the salt and pepper content.
Check how long you need to boil your pasta. For this paccheri rigati that I’m using, it takes about 12 minutes to al dente. Make sure your pot of heavily salted water is ready to go before adding the dry pasta.
Once your sausage and leek sauce begins to reduce, lower the heat to low so nothing burns. I also add some heavy cream here and stir that in. It is entirely optional, but I do feel it gives an elevated richness to the sauce. In a way it’s a bit like a vodka sauce minus the vodka.
Whenever I make dry pasta with a sauce I always try to finish in the pan. Pull out your pasta with a slotted ladle a couple minutes before they should finish in the pot and add them directly to the pan. Mix everything together and let the pasta finish cooking in the sausage and leeks sauce for a couple minutes. You will still end up with perfectly al dente pasta, but it will be even more flavorful this way.
Plate your paccheri with sausage and leeks and serve with the optional ingredients listed above. This time I did some microplaned pecorino romano and sliced green onion. Enjoy!
Other Sauces You Can Pair With Paccheri Rigati
Paccheri Rigati pasta pairs well with both tomato and cream based sauces. Here are some options if you have the pasta but don’t feel like a sausage and leeks sauce:
- Cream Cheese Sauce – My cream cheese pasta is one of the most popular recipes on this site, and for good reason. The easy cream cheese sauce is like an adult mac and cheese, while being surprisingly simple from start to finish!
- Mushroom Sauce – I have a few different pastas that use mushroom sauces, like my chanterelle pasta and my fettuccine porcini. Both sauces would pair excellently with paccheri rigati dry pasta.
- Chicken And Sun Dried Tomato Pasta – This is the sauce for my pasta of the same name. The dish itself uses homemade fettuccine, but dry pasta like paccheri will also work well. This is a cream based sauce, so think more heavy comfort food than traditional Italian.
- Spago’s Red Sauce – This famous recipe is one of the stars at the so named Wolfgang Puck restaurants. It is my go to homemade marinara with so many uses!
Paccheri With Sausage And Leeks
- 1 Pan
- 1 Pot
- 500 grams Paccheri Rigate you can use any pasta you want this is just the one I used to make this dish. I do always recommend using high quality dry pasta if you can; it makes a world of difference.
- 3 Italian Sausages these are the type of raw sausage in casing you get at the butcher. You can use more if you want to make an even meatier sauce.
- 500 grams Tomato Puree
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 large Leek finely sliced
- 2 medium Yellow Onions diced
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt plus more for the pasta water
- 5 cloves Garlic thinly sliced or minced
- Black Pepper freshly cracked, to taste
- Green Onion chopped, for garnish
- Lemon Juice a light squeeze on the sauce before adding the pasta can elevate the dish but just be careful because if your sauce is already very acidic this could put it over the top.
- Red Chili Flakes use as much as you want if you prefer to make a spicy tomato sauce like an arrabbiata
- Heavy Cream this will turn the sauce into more of an orange sauce. I often add cream for the richness; in this recipe I eyeballed around half a cup.
- Grated Cheese go ahead and grate some Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano over the finished pasta before serving it.
- Cured Egg Yolk I often grate over some cured egg yolk on pasta dishes instead of hard cheese as I feel it adds a different type of umami experience. Go ahead and try it for yourself.
- Set a pot of water with salt on high heat to bring to a boil.
- In a pan on medium heat add the olive oil and the onions. Cook them down for 10 minutes or until just slightly browned.
- Peel off the sausage casing and pinch off some meat right into the pan. Give everything a stir and let the sausage brown in the pan with the onions.
- Add the thinly sliced leeks and stir them in. Add a pinch of salt. You can also add the garlic and red chili flakes here, but watch the garlic so it does not burn. Lower heat and add a quarter cup of water if it seems like things are burning.
- Add in the tomato puree and tomato paste and raise the heat up to high. Mix everything together and let the tomato sauce thicken through evaporation. At this point you can add the pasta to the pot of heavily salted water.
- Once you reach the sauce desired thickness, reduce the heat to low. You can add cream here if you are using it, otherwise just stir every once in a while waiting for the pasta to finish boiling.
- When the pasta has 1-2 minutes left, use a slotted ladle to remove it from the pot and add it directly to the pan with the sauce. Mix everything up and let the pasta finish in the sauce for the next few minutes.
- Plate the pasta and garnish with a variety of choices. Enjoy!