Best Sausage Pasta Recipe with Cabbage


Creamy Sausage Pasta With Cabbage

September 29, 2020
16 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 6 or more
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (about 4 to 6 sausages depending on size), uncased
  • 1 big pinch of kosher salt, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 large head of green cabbage, cored and cut in two pieces, then sliced into roughly 1 1/2-inch ribbons (this will yield about 5 to 6 cups)
  • 3/4 pound conchiglie (small shell) dried pasta
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 ounces Parmesan, Microplaned or very finely grated, divided in two (each will be about 1/2 cup packed)
In This Recipe
  1. In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, heat olive oil over a medium-high flame. Add the uncased sausages and brown thoroughly, breaking up with a wooden spoon so they’re in small, half-teaspoon-sized pieces. Once deeply browned and just cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove the browned meat, leaving behind the oil, and set aside (season it with the big pinch of salt as you do).
  2. Add the chopped cabbage and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to the skillet. Turn the flame down to medium-low. If things are looking dry at this stage, add another splash of olive oil with the cabbage. Cook about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every so often, until cabbage is very tender, with a sweet and savory concentrated flavor, and browned in some spots.
  3. While the cabbage is cooking, bring a big pot of well-salted water to a boil (figure about 1 tablespoon per quart), and cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the box suggests, so it’s quite al dente. (It’ll cook more in the next steps.) Before draining, reserve 1 cup starchy cooking water.
  4. When the cabbage is tender and browned, turn on broiler to preheat. Meanwhile, back on the stovetop, make a well in the center of the cabbage and add the nutmeg. Heat about 30 seconds, then add the heavy cream, 1/2 cup reserved pasta water, pepper, half the Parmesan, and stir until cheese is melted and cream has just barely come to a simmer. Use your spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the pasta and about 2/3 of the reserved sausage (keep the rest set aside), and toss. If you need to loosen up the sauce more, add another splash of pasta water and keep tossing.
  5. Turn off the flame, and adjust seasoning to taste as needed. Top with the remainder of the browned sausage and Parmesan. Carefully, place under broiler. Watching closely, broil for about 2 minutes, until top is bubbly and browned.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Meleyna Nomura
    Meleyna Nomura
  • Beth Ann Tesluk
    Beth Ann Tesluk
  • ErinC
  • Ella Quittner
    Ella Quittner
Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.

    8 Reviews

    Linda D. August 22, 2020
    Thanks, Ella. Yum!
    Becky January 28, 2020
    Wonderful! I have made this three times and it is a family favorite. Thank you!
    Meleyna N. January 10, 2020
    So good! I only had one sausage link hanging out in the freezer, so I drained a can of chickpeas and crisped them up with the sausage with some extra garlic and fennel seed. Still tons of flavor with a little less meat!
    Author Comment
    Ella Q. January 12, 2020
    So glad you enjoyed, Meleyna!
    Beth A. October 1, 2019
    This was really good! I did add a cup of coarsely chopped onion to make it hew more closely to the original smothered cabbage recipe, and the caramelized onions gave it a boost. Make sure you broil til the parm crisps up for added texture.
    Author Comment
    Ella Q. January 12, 2020
    Mmmm, sounds excellent.
    ErinC October 1, 2019
    Great fall recipe! Cozy recipe for a cold day - love the carmelized cabbage/nutmeg/cream sauce combo with the sausage. Will def make again!
    Author Comment
    Ella Q. January 12, 2020
    Aw, thanks for sharing Erin!