This gramigna pasta recipe from Bologna is among the easiest sausage pasta dishes to prepare! With just three primary ingredients, it makes a delicious, hearty meal that is particularly popular with children in Italy.
Despite not being as well-known as other classic pasta dishes from Bologna, gramigna with sausage is a common and popular menu item in Bologna’s homes, restaurants and trattorias. The simplest and most traditional version of this sauce only has three ingredients: sausage, tomatoes, and onion.
Having made this recipe a number of times, I can safely say that it is absolutely delicious despite its simplicity. In fact, it’s hard to think of another pasta dish which is not only so simple but at the same time hearty and filling, whilst being so easy to make.
The use of sausage meat instead of ground beef certainly adds depth of flavour. I’m sure that once you’ve tried it, it will be a regular addition to your family menu repertoire!
What is Gramigna?
Gramigna is short squiggly hollow tubes of pasta, originally handmade but now mostly made with an extruder.
This pasta used to be only eaten as a fresh pasta but, nowadays, it is also available dried, although production is mostly artisan and gramigna is not so easy to find in shops or supermarkets outside of Italy.
However, you can buy gramigna on Amazon.com and there are also many artisan Italian pasta makers who have online shops and will send even small orders overseas.
Like many Italian pasta shapes, gramigna evolved over time, however this isn’t an ancient type of pasta. When extruded, the fresh homemade and dry factory versions look similar, but the homemade pasta tends to be less uniform and actually slightly less squiggly!
- Gramigna: You can use both fresh or dried gramigna. Some other alternative kinds of pasta are fusilli, elbow marconi or even spaghetti.
- Sausage: Use an Italian pork sausage; these sausages are well seasoned with spices and add a ton of flavor to the sauce.
- White Wine: Use a dry white wine; this helps cut through the richness of the sausage mince, adding more balance and overall flavors. Some great dry white wines include Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. If you want to use an Italian dry white wine, you can use an Italian Pinot Grigio.
- Tomatoes: Use good-quality passata or sieved tomatoes; one of my favorites is San Marzano.
- Parmigiano: I used Parmigiano Reggiano for this recipe, but you could also use Grana Padano. They both work best freshly grated, although you can use pre-grated if you are in a rush.
There are other versions of this sausage sauce apart from the simple 3-ingredient one I used in the recipe. Some people include cream or milk, garlic, rosemary or other herbs and celery or carrots. I have also made a version with sausage, peas and cream which is really good. However, this recipe is for the simplest version.
Step by Step Instructions
1) Decase the sausages by making a shallow lengthways cut along the sausage from top to bottom. Gently push the sausage mince out of the casing and onto a chopping board.
2) After all the sausages are decased, roughly chop the mince meat until it’s in small chunks and then place in a bowl.
3) In a large sauté or frying pan, soften the onions for 4 to 5 minutes. Once softened, add the sausage mince meat.
4) Brown the minced meat in the pan; this should take around 4 to 5 minutes.
5) Add white wine and deglaze the pan by scrapping any brown bits of the bottom with a wooden spoon. Reduce for 3 to 4 minutes, then taste to season with salt and pepper.
6) Mix in the passata and leave to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes (mixing occasionally and adding a splash of water or white wine if the sauce gets to dry).
7) While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously season with salt and allow it to return to a boil. Once boiling, add the Gramigna and cook to al dente, following the packet’s instructions.
8) Once the gramigna is cooked, strain it in a colander and add it to the pasta sauce.
9) Mix the gramigna with the sausage pasta sauce and cook for a further minute while mixing the pasta.
10) Serve immediately with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
If you do try this gramigna with sausage recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page. There are also more tasty Italian sausage pasta recipes to choose next.
Gramigna alla Salsiccia (Sausage)
- 14 oz Gramigna (400g) dried will take longer to cook than fresh
- 16 oz Pork sausages (450g) Italian
- 1 medium Onion peeled and finely diced
- 1 glass White wine
- 20 oz Tomato passata (500g)
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano (50g)
- Salt to cook the pasta and to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Remove the skin from the sausage and chop into chunks.
- Fry the onion in olive oil until it starts to soften
- Add the sausage meat and continue cooking until it starts to brown.
- Add the white wine and cook for a further few minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Put water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil.
- Add the passata or chopped tomatoes and simmer the sauce for 20-25 minutes ( If it gets too dry you can pour in a little water or more wine)
- Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.
- When the pasta is cooked and strained add it to the sauce and cook everything together for a further minute, stirring the sauce into the pasta.
- Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
- You can season the ready dish further if required with parsley or peperoncino flakes. ( We added some peperoncino!)
- Another way to spice it up is to add a little Nduja when you are cooking the sausage.
- If you don’t have gramigna this dish is still delicious with other short pasta such as fusilli, elbow macaroni or even spaghetti.
- Tomato passata can be swapped with fresh peeled and chopped tomatoes
More sausage pasta recipes:
- Bigoli with Luganega sausage, recipe from Veneto
- Tagliolini alla Langarola, recipe from The Langhe
- Homemade cavatelli with oyster mushrooms and sausage
- Pasta alla Norcina, recipe from Umbria
- Sicilian broccoli pasta with sausage and chard
Pin for Later:
If you are interested in learning how to make homemade pasta and different types of gnocchi, check out my shop page for some great video online courses from my friends in Rome! Nothing beats learning to make pasta from Italians! Plus while you’re there why not order a copy of one of my pasta recipes cookbook!?
Hi! I love how informative and great your articles are. Thanks a lot.!
I have just returned from a short trip to Bologna where we had this dish. I can truly say it the best pasta meal I have ever tasted! I searched for the recipe to make it myself at home and was thrilled to find your post. Grazie mille!!
while we didn’t have small pasta handy, we made this with PrimoGrano Traghetti and it was simply delicious. we choose this as one of our all time favorites from your recipes. bless you for sharing.
I’m thrilled you liked this recipe so much Henry! I love it too because it’s simple but very tasty! Unfortunately gramigna pasta isn’t so easy to find outside of Italy but this recipe is great with long pasta like traghetti too!
Tayler Ross says
I love that this requires only 3 main ingredients! This is a meal that my family is sure to love!
It’s amazing how delicious this recipe is even with only 3 ingredients Tayler! I’m sure your family will devour it!
Eden | Sweet Tea and Thyme says
This looks so delicious, I’ve got to make it! Luckily, I’ve found that pasta type at my local mom and pop Italian grocer. To the store I go!
This is a great recipe Eden. I’m sure you’re going to love it! Perfect that you can find gramigna to make it with!
Lisa | Garlic & Zest says
I love the look of the gramigna — what a fun pasta shape — and the sauce sounds like the ideal, simple, straightforward topping! Sometimes that’s the best!
This looks so tasty and I know my family will love this dish! Definitely need to try!
Simple pasta recipes taste the best and if one of the ingredients is a sausage you can’t go wrong there at all :)!
Salvatore Scotti says
Hi Melanie, is the version with the addition of milk & tomato paste instead of fresh tomatoes the original receipt? Thanks a lot. Salvatore
eric b says
Like with any recipe: there are variations. I just watched 2 videos of this recipe and they were NOT the same. But of course: its someones nonnas recipe; so its hard to argue its “original” or not. No doubt your nonna will have your original recipe.
I am making mine with cream and white wine, anis seeds and chili in it, like I saw in yet another video.
Melanie F says
Hi! Where can I find gramigna pasta? I looked on amazon.com and they only have the farro version. Where did you buy yours? I live in the NY/NJ area and it is impossible to find anywhere!
Hi Melanie, thank for you comment. I of course buy gramigna here in Italy. I have also bought them online in UK from Amazon.co.uk, but you are right they only have a farro version on Amazon.com. What you can use instead are gramigna coquillettes from granoro which are very similar and can be bought in US. I will try to find another source for you after I return from my holiday here in Sicily. All the best! Jacqui.