Switch up your pasta routine with this recipe for gramigna alla salsiccia, courtesy of Helga Dosa from ShegoWandering.
Short and slightly curlique, gramigna pasta originates from the Modena-Bologna area in Emilia-Romagna, Italy—it is one of the region’s many famed egg pastas. It is really similar to macaroni, but it’s longer, and often sold as a mix of simple egg pasta with pasta made with spinach. While the Italians love to record and celebrate the origins of their foods, the exact origin of this pasta remains unknown. Gramigna alla salsiccia, however, is said to have been born in the heart of Emilia.
It’s similar to the more famous Bolognese ragù, also from Emilia-Romagna, except this ragù is made with sausage meat. Otherwise, the process and most of the ingredients are very much alike. A popular menu item in the many trattorias and osterias in Bologna, Modena, and Reggio Emilia, the dish is also a popular home-cooked Sunday lunch dish in the region, as it’s pretty simple to make.
As someone who lives in this region of Italy, I am not alone is claiming the best is how it’s made in the city of Reggio Emilia. Locals there are more likely to order gramigna for primo piatto (first course) at lunch—it’s a very popular dish. Bologna, on the other hand, has so many famous pastas that the gramigna is more often overlooked.
The first time I tried gramigna alla salsiccia was in a shelter called Rifugio della Pietra, located halfway to the top of Pietra di Bismantova, in Reggio Emilia. This dish was the perfect combination of carbs and protein after a great cliff hike. It’s since become one of my favorite Italian pasta dishes. Perhaps it will become yours.
How to make gramigna alla salsiccia
Cooking time: 45 min
Preparation time: 10 min
Makes 4 servings
350-400g of gramigna pasta (1 lb. box is fine)
35 g (approx. 1/4 cup) fresh cream
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
350-400g raw, fresh pork sausage (1 lb. is fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
35 ml of dry white wine (approx. 2.5 Tbsp)
600 ml (2.5 cups) of stock/water
200 g (1 cup) tomato puree
¼ tsp rosemary
¼ tsp sage
Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
When preparing the dish, first remove the casings of the sausage. Break apart the sausage in tiny pieces, so it won’t be so hard to separate it while cooking. Dice the onion.
Preheat a skillet with extra-virgin olive oil. Add onions and cook on medium heat until translucent.
Add the sausage and let the meat cook for about 5 minutes, stirring it from time to time.
Add the salt and pepper (to taste), and then the wine, and cook until the wine evaporates. This should take about 5 minutes.
Next, you will add either beef/vegetable stock or water to it, just enough so that the sausage is completely covered. Cook for another 10 minutes, then add the tomato puree, rosemary and sage. Mix together, and if you see there’s not enough sauce on the meat, add some more water/stock to it.
Salt a pot of water and put it on to boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add your gramigna (or similar pasta); it will cook in about 7-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the sauce to a boil, and then add the fresh cream in. Lower the heat and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Before taking the ragù off the stove, taste and season with more salt and pepper, as needed. Then, once your pasta is ready, drain it and mix it right into the salsiccia ragù.
Dish it out, sprinkle with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and you’re ready to eat!
About the author: Helga Dosa, from ShegoWandering, is a travel and lifestyle blogger and photographer based in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Her passion for Italy, the food, culture, and history is what drives her every day to discover, write, and share more. She is also the author of The Wandering Cookbook, a collection of the best Italian, Spanish, and other international recipes.