Pasta with cinnamon and sausage sauce

The original recipe from The Food of Love Cookery School uses a seashell-shaped pasta. But Nici prefers making corteccia, a pea-pod shape, as it’s faster, easier to make and will still capture the delicious sauce in all its nooks and crannies.

By Nici Wickes
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
This week at New Zealand Woman's Weekly, we're celebrating Weekly columnist and author Nicky Pellegrino ahead of the launch of her new novel A Dream of Italy. I adore Nicky's books and while her stories are fictitious, the recipes are the real deal. I've selected some favourites and tweaked them just a little to suit our Kiwi kitchens. Delizioso!
- Nici Wickes, Food Editor


  • 500 g durum wheat flour (semolina flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • up to 1 cup tepid water
  • 500 g Italian sausage (preferably flavoured with fennel seeds and chilli flakes)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 glass full-bodied red wine
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 400 g store-bought or homemade tomato passata
  • grated pecorino, to serve


  • 1
    Pour the flour into a large, wide bowl. Use a fork to drizzle and mix in enough warm, salted water until it resembles rough breadcrumbs. Knead in the bowl until it comes together, then turn out onto a board and knead for 3-4 minutes more or until it is a silky and smooth ball.
  • 2
    Pinch off marble-sized pieces and roll them on a board or bench, under the palm of your hand, until tube-shaped and slightly tapered at each end. Using 3 fingers, press into the dough and drag back towards you so that the pasta rolls over and off the fingers (nail side). It should resemble a pea-pod. Rest assured, you will get better at it! Leave them out to air dry while you make the sauce.
  • 3
    To make the sauce, remove the sausage from its casing, break into small chunks, then sauté in extra virgin olive oil on a medium-high heat. Add the wine. When the alcohol evaporates, add in the cinnamon followed by the tomato sauce. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  • 4
    Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes. It will float to the surface as soon as it is ready. Place the pasta in a bowl with the sauce, mix well and sprinkle with grated pecorino cheese.


If you can't find durum wheat or fine semolina flour, coarse semolina will work. Just put it through a blender to make it finer. A little gritty is okay.

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