Paccheri Pasta, butter beans, Italian sausage and sun dried tomatoes make a seriously delicious pasta dish!
These ingredients go so well together! Whenever you add good quality Italian sausage to pasta a great recipe is bound to happen.
Topping it off with the distinctive and addicting flavor of sun dried tomatoes makes it even better. We use oil packed ones, they are more convenient and keep for a long time in the fridge, but the fresh unflavored sun dried tomatoes would be fine as well.
The next ingredient, butter beans, are huge, hearty and just so versatile! They act as a great cannellini bean substitute. We mix them into our Pasta Fagioli and our Ribollita Soup Every So Often. It's nice to have a couple different beans in these dishes for a change of pace.
As far as the pasta goes, paccheri is not required as it can be hard to find. It's a huge pasta that's basically a 2-3" long tube, almost like a smaller section of manicotti or cannelloni. If you can not find paccheri pasta, rigatoni would be a good substitute, though any tubular variety would be fine.
The rest of the ingredients are par for the course with many Italian recipes. You will need fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, chili flakes and some pasta water.
How To Make Paccheri Pasta With Butter Beans, Sausage And Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Begin by cooking a ½ pound of paccheri pasta to 'al dente' in salted (2 Tbsp kosher salt per gallon) water. Before draining pasta, be sure to reserve 2 cups of the pasta water. Mince a bunch of (about ¼ cup) fresh parsley.
- Coarsely chop a ¼ cup of sun dried tomatoes and 4 cloves of garlic.
- While the water is boiling, in a large pan saute ground sausage meat on medium heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Break up any large pieces of sausage with the back of a wooden spoon.
- The sausage will take about 15 minutes to cook through. When fully cooked remove all the sausage and set aside.
- In the same pan add a ¼ cup of olive oil and the chopped garlic. Saute over medium heat (about 2-3 minutes) until lightly golden.
- Add the sun dried tomatoes and a ¼ tsp of chili flakes. After 1 minute of cooking, add a ½ cup of pasta water and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits of flavor.
- Rinse the butter beans of their solution, and add them to the pan. Also return the ground sausage to the pan and give it all a stir.
- Add the paccheri pasta and mix well to thoroughly incorporate all the flavors. Let the pasta cook for 1 minute in the sauce, then taste test. Adjust salt and chili flakes if required. If the pasta is a little dry add more of the reserved pasta water, a few ounces at a time. Remove the pan from the heat, add the parsley and drizzle a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on top. Enjoy!
So that's how to make an awesome pasta recipe. Now, like I said paccheri is not required, but it does look good! It really goes well with the butter beans, sausage and sun dried tomatoes.
Serve more chili flakes and extra virgin olive oil on the side. A nice block of parmigiano reggiano for grating would also be a good idea.
Substitutions & Additions
- Pancetta - Pancetta is a great way to start this and many other pasta dishes. It adds a ton of flavor, and you don't need a lot of it. Use a ¼ pound of diced pancetta in combination with the sausage or by itself for a lighter dish. If cooking with the sausage, cook them both at the same time. If using alone, saute the pancetta for 5-7 minutes over medium heat prior to adding the garlic.
- Butter Beans - Substitute cannellini beans, great northern beans or chick peas. The first two will add a similar texture and taste to the butter beans, while the chick peas are a unique texture and flavor. If using canned chick peas, pre-cook them for 15 minutes in water, over a simmer to soften.
- Tomatoes - Cherry tomatoes can be effectively substituted, for a lighter touch. Use a cup of cherry tomatoes in place of the sun dried ones.
- White wine - A dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio adds great flavor to many pasta recipes. Add it in during the pasta water step (use a ½ cup) and a touch less pasta water. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and allow the wine to boil out for a few minutes. Lower the heat back to medium and continue on with the recipe.
- Vegan - Omit the ground sausage and any cheese for a completely vegan pasta recipe.
Tips For Perfect Paccheri Pasta With Butter Beans
- Pasta - Cook the paccheri or any tubular variety you like to 'al dente' so it can finish cooking in the sauce, absorbing the flavors without becoming mushy. Al dente means, "to the tooth", but think of it as being a firmer bite. Good pasta brands such as Dececco - they don't sponsor me - will put the al dente cooking time right on the box. If you are concerned about overcooking your pasta, just set a timer for the suggested cooking time and taste test a couple minutes before the time ends.
- Sausage - If you can't find separated ground Italian sausage, just buy the links and remove the sausage from the skin. To do this, make a slit, peel the skin off and discard. You now will have ground loose sausage.
- Pasta water - Save your pasta water! The pasta might dry out when waiting to serve guests or family. Just use some of it to loosen the sauce right back up. The reason pasta tends to dry out is it is actively absorbing the sauce, and with a light one like this it can absorb a lot of it very quickly, especially if fully covered with plastic wrap. Think of extra pasta water as added insurance!
- Butter beans - Rinse the beans well to remove the salty sodium solution that they're packed in. Sometimes people will use canned bean solution when making chilis and stews, in this case, there is no practical use for it.
On a 1-5 scale with 1 being easy this pasta with butter beans, sausage and sun dried tomatoes is a 2.5. The only things to remember are to fully cook the sausage through (will be grey with no red raw spots) and to not burn the garlic.
If You Love This Paccheri Pasta Recipe, Check Out These Other Great Pastas
- Pasta With Broccoli
- Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes
- Italian Sausage Pasta
- Pasta e Ceci
- Pasta With Celery
- Pasta Alla Norma
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- ½ pound paccheri pasta
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 16 ounce can of butter beans
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup parsley
- ⅜ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- ½ cup pasta water
- Cook the paccheri pasta to 'al dente' in salted (2 Tbsp kosher salt per gallon) water. Before draining reserve 2 cups of pasta water. Finely chop a ¼ cup of fresh parsley. Also, rough chop 4 cloves of garlic and a ¼ cup of sun dried tomatoes.
- While pasta is cooking, in a large pan saute the ground sausage in 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Break apart any large pieces with a wooden spoon. When sausage is fully cooked (15-20 minutes), remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add a ¼ cup of olive oil and saute garlic until golden (about 2 minutes). Add the sun dried tomatoes and chili flakes to the pan and let cook for 1 minute.
- Add a ½ cup of pasta water and scrape any brown bits off the pan bottom with a wooden spoon. Return the sausage to the pan and add the rinsed butter beans.
- Add the paccheri pasta and mix thoroughly to combine. Let the pasta cook for 1 minute to heat through and absorb the sauce. Taste test and adjust salt and/or chili flakes if required. If the pasta is too dry add a couple ounces more of the reserved pasta water.
- Remove the pan from the stove, add the parsley and a big drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top. Enjoy!
- Feel free to substitute any tubular sized pasta.
- No extra salt was added, adjust according to taste.
- Chili flakes are optional.
- A few ounces of the extra pasta water can be used to thin out the pasta sauce if necessary.