Pasta with Sausage, Radicchio and Green Olives

There are as many pasta combinations as your imagination allows. This one from Fine Cooking’s “Make It Tonight” series throws together an unusual mix of ingredients for a flavorful creation. While cocktail olives give this pasta welcome bursts of sweet and briny, they also perfectly balance the subtle bitterness of the radicchio.

For our pasta, even though I would have selected cavatappi, we had an open box with half a pound (8 ounces) of penne. Which was fine because we prefer a ratio of less pasta with more of the other ingredients.

I suppose you could use regular balsamic vinegar, but make an effort to get the white, you’ll thank yourself. And don’t cheap out on the cheese, a block of aged Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano solidifies the grandness of this meal.

Wowser, this was good! There was enough leftover for the Hubby to take to work for lunch the next day. When he got home, the first thing he said was “OMG, that pasta was so good, we’ definitely have to make this again—soon!”


Pasta with Sausage, Radicchio and Green Olives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 12 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 medium head radicchio, quartered, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 3 cups)
  • 3 oz. pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 Tbs.)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. short pasta, such as cavatappi, farfalle, or penne
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, shaved and then crumbled (about 3/4 cup)


  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking it into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the radicchio, olives, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the radicchio is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return to the pot.
  6. Toss the sausage mixture with the pasta, 1/3 cup of the basil, and most of the cheese. add enough cooking water to moisten, and serve topped with the remaining cheese and basil.

Recipe by Ronne Day from Fine Cooking

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