Italian sausage & chestnut pasta

A mix of sausagemeat and chestnut chunks creates a rich and nutty pasta sauce, lifting this from an everyday dish to something special

  • Prep:10 mins
    Cook:30 mins
  • Serves 6
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 576
  • fat 23g
  • saturates 7g
  • carbs 67g
  • sugars 11g
  • fibre 3g
  • protein 21g
  • salt 1.7g


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 450g pack Lincolnshire sausages, meat squeezed out
  • 200g vacuum-packed chestnuts from a can or jar, very roughly chopped (see tip, below)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 glass full-bodied red wine
  • 500g carton passata
  • 500g large pasta shells or pappardelle
  • small pack curly parsley, finely chopped
  • Parmesan or Grana Padano, to serve


Preparing raw chestnuts: Peeling

To peel, cut a slit in the side of each chestnut with the tip of a sharp knife, then tip a few at a time into a pan of boiling water. Boil for seven minutes, then scoop out the chestnuts onto a tea towel. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel off the outside shell and fibrous inner membrane.

Preparing raw chestnuts: Troubleshooting

 If your chestnuts are too hard to peel, put them in the microwave for a minute, then try again. To cook completely, put them back into the water and simmer for 30 minutes.

Preparing raw chestnuts: Roasting

To roast, cut a slit in each chestnut using the tip of a sharp knife. Spread over a roasting tin and cook in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes, shaking the tin occasionally, until the slits start to open out.


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and fry the onion for 5 mins. Once starting to soften, add the sausagemeat and chestnuts, and fry for another 10-12 mins, breaking the meat up with a wooden spatula or spoon as you fry it. Keep the heat quite high and stir often.

  2. When the meat and chestnuts are golden brown, add the garlic, rosemary and fennel seeds, and cook for 2 mins more. Splash in the wine, let most of it boil away, then tip in the passata. Cover and simmer the sauce for 10 mins while you boil the pasta in plenty of salted water, following pack instructions.

  3. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta well. Toss the pasta, 3 tbsp of the water, the ragu and most of the parsley together, then season to taste. Share between bowls, add a grinding of black pepper, the remaining parsley, then a handful of Parmesan shavings.

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