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Gemelli with Sausage, Grapes and Red Wine

January 6, 2010

On January 2nd we had an early birthday dinner for Carrie. She left on the 3rd to go to Peru with her roommate, Sarah. They plan to be back at Pomona College by the start of classes on the 19th.

Carrie requested Andrew Carmellini’s Strozzapreti with Sausage, Grapes and Red Wine from his Urban Italian cookbook. I used gemelli, because I couldn’t find strozzapreti.

Joan volunteered to remove the casings from the sausage and chop it up. (Thank you, Joan!)

The pasta was delicious and a great send-off/birthday dinner for Carrie!


Gemelli with Sausage, Grapes and Red Wine

(Adapted from Andrew Carmellini’s recipe)


(print the recipe)


Serves 6 – 8


1 cup seedless red grapes, halved lengthwise
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup honey (or sugar)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 pound dried gemelli pasta (or other small, thin pasta)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (about 3/4 pound spicy and 3/4 pound regular), casings removed and meat roughly chopped
1 cup chopped onion
10 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


In a medium bowl, combine the grapes, wine, honey and vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Put the grape mixture in a pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. I find this takes about 30 minutes. (Andrew had said it would take 10 minutes. Perhaps it takes longer with honey?)

Heat the pasta water.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the sausage meat and cook until it starts to brown, stirring often. Then add the onions and continue to cook until the sausage is thoroughly cooked. Add the sage and stir.

When the pasta water is boiling, add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Add the grape mixture to the sausage and stir.

When the pasta is done reserve some of the water (1/2 – 3/4 of a cup) and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sausage if your pan is big enough. Alternatively, put the pasta back in the pasta cooking pot and add the sausage mixture to the pasta. Cook the pasta mixture over medium heat for about a minute more to allow the pasta to absorb some of the flavors.

Stir in the butter, cheese, and black pepper. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water, if it seems a bit dry. Serve immediately and offer extra cheese to top the pasta.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    January 6, 2010 5:15 pm

    I loooove this pasta. So good!

  2. January 6, 2010 5:20 pm

    Glad you like it! 🙂
    It would be easy to cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to make so much.


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