Pasta alla boscaiola is a traditional Italian recipe made with mushrooms and sausage or pancetta. The perfect comfort pasta dish, this creamy rigatoni alla boscaiola recipe has porcini mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms, and Italian sausage for a flavourful feast that only takes 30 minutes to make.
It’s an Italian comfort food that’s part of my cold season routine every year. This creamy Italian sausage pasta is called pasta alla boscaiola in Italian, and it’s a hearty, flavourful dish.
There are many ways to make pasta boscaiola (which means woodsman’s pasta in English, an apt name considering all the mushrooms that go in), and not all versions contain sausage
Sometimes, you’ll see boscaiola recipes made with pancetta, and some of them have a red sauce.
This recipe is a version of pasta alla boscaiola bianca, which has a creamy, white sauce with mushrooms that complements the flavour of the Italian sausage beautifully.
What do you need to make this pasta?
To make this creamy sausage pasta, you only need a couple of ingredients, the most important of which being the mushrooms (wouldn’t be “boscaiola” without them).
I use rehydrated porcini mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms to make the boscaiola sauce, but feel free to use fresh porcini if you can find them (absolutely no chance of that here in Scotland) and other fresh mushrooms such as forestiere, portobello or even shiitake.
You only need three Italian sausages for this recipe (there’s not much choice of Italian sausages in UK supermarkets, but I found the Italian-style sausages from M&S to work best here). You can also substitute the sausage for pancetta if you want.
This is a creamy sausage pasta, which means the calories are somewhat up the room (hey, we all need a treat every now and again).
The double (heavy) cream doesn’t help, so if you want to cut down on calories a bit, you can use single cream (half and half) instead. Make sure you cook the sauce a couple of minutes more to allow it to thicken.
I like to use rigatoni for this recipe, but feel free to use any type of short pasta you have on hand; they all work great. Penne rigate are an excellent choice for boscaiola, as they do a great job at catching the sauce.
Recipe tips for the best boscaiola pasta
- Don’t forget to reserve pasta water before draining. This is essential for this type of creamy sauce, as it gets absorbed very quickly when you add the pasta to the pan.
- Italian sausage may be tricky to cut into pieces after you remove the casings but don’t worry about it, as you can always break it down with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
- The white wine is optional, but I highly recommend it as it enhances the flavour of the sauce.
- If you use pancetta instead of sausage, you may need to adjust cooking times, so use your best judgement.
If you liked this rigatoni alla boscaiola recipe, you might also like:
- 300 g (10.5 oz) rigatoni
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 20 g (1 ounce) dry porcini mushrooms, rehydrated
- 250 g (1/2 lb) chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- 3 Italian sausages (casings removed, roughy chopped)
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine
- 200 ml (1 cup) double cream
- 30 g (1 ounce) grated Parmesan
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and salt the water. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package (you want it to be al dente). Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the shallot for 1-2 minutes on medium heat until softened.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Next, add the rehydrated porcini mushrooms and fry them for 1 minute. Tip in the chestnut mushrooms and cook until softened (4-5 minutes).
- Add the Italian sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the white wine. Continue to cook for 5-6 minutes until browned.
- Add the double cream and grated Parmesan and simmer for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens. If the sauce looks too thick, add a splash of pasta water.
- Add the parsley, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately, with some extra Parmesan on top if you like.
Amount Per Serving Calories 586Total Fat 40gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 96mgSodium 575mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 2gSugar 5gProtein 21g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.