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MICHAEL SYMON Creamy Fettuccine with Spicy Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

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1 pound spicy Italian sausage (removed from casing)
1 pound fresh fettuccine
1 red onion (minced)
2-3 cloves garlic (sliced)
1 garden tomato (stem and core removed)
2-3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup whole basil leaves
8 ounces cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus more)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup mint (chopped)
extra-virgin olive oil


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or potato masher, until well browned, about 8 minutes.
Add the onions and garlic and stir. Sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, using a knife, score an “X” in the bottom of the garden tomato. Place in the boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove to a cutting board and use a towel or the back of your knife to peel the skin away, and discard. Cut the tomato into quarters. Remove the seeds and discard. Finely chop the flesh of the tomato and add it to the pan with the sausage mixture. Add a few tablespoons of cooking water to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, drop the fettuccine into the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Remove the sauté pan with the sausage mixture from the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese and swirl in to combine.
Add the cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, cooked fettuccine, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Serve pasta with toasted breadcrumb mixture and more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.
For the Breadcrumbs: preheat a small-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the breadcrumbs. Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add the fresh parsley and mint. Toss to combine and set aside.

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