Sausage and Saffron Pasta alla Monzese.

Creamy Sausage and Saffron Pasta alla Monzese Recipe from Lombardy

Pasta alla Monzese is a rich pasta recipe from the Brianza area in Lombardy, Northern Italy. This creamy sausage and saffron pasta is actually surprisingly simple to make and has just 4 main ingredients. However,  it’s the combination of those ingredients makes this one of the most flavourful sausage pasta recipes I know.

sausage and saffron pasta alla monzese

Where is Brianza, home to pasta alla Monzese?

Brianza isn’t a town. It’s actually a triangular geographical area north of Monza (home to Italy’s Formula 1, Grand prix track) and south of Lake Como. The towns of the area are located in 4 different provinces , Milan, Monza, Como and Lecco. Brianza is also known as the land of the lakes. The 5 Briantei lakes lie in what is called the upper Brianza area. This area is very lush and green and home to a number of parks and nature reserves. In the past, it was a popular summer retreat for the wealthy families of Milan who built beautiful villas by the lakes or on the surrounding hills!

sausage and saffron pasta alla monzese

Food in Brianza.

The food in Brianza is very much based on local agriculture, particularly maize and animal rearing, mostly pigs. So, that means lots of polenta and pork products. In fact, the area is well-known for its salami and sausages.  The original sausage for this pasta alla Monzese recipe is a local type of luganega sausage called luganega di Monza. It’s made with pork shoulder, belly and trimmings as well as grana padano cheese, meat broth and marsala wine!

ingredientsfor pasta alla monzese on white plate

What is the difference between luganega and Italian pork sausages?

The main difference between luganega and other pork sausages here in Italy is mostly the shape. Luganega is a fresh quite light coloured long pork sausage that has been rolled into a spiral. In some places, they sell it by the meter! It’s particularly traditional here in Northern Italy. However, it actually originated in the ancient Southern region of Lucania, today’s Basilicata.

luganega sausage pieces cooking in frying pan

It was the Romans who introduced this type of sausage to the North. The luganega the people of Brianza normally use in this sausage and saffron pasta recipe is actually quite rich compared to other types. There are some types of luganega which have just salt, pepper and a herb like wild fennel or peperoncino. However, one version from Treviso has rice in it, along with cassia, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, mace and nutmeg. It’s usually served with risotto.

sausage, cream and saffron cooking in frying pan

Risotto alla Monzese.

Speaking of risotto, this creamy sausage and saffron pasta recipe is actually based on a traditional risotto recipe from Brianza. Risotto alla Monzese has the same luganega sausage. However, there are different versions of the risotto. Some people use white wine and saffron (more similar to risotto Milanese), others leave out the saffron and use red wine.

cooked rigatoni added to the sausage and saffron cream sauce in frying pan

Making pasta alla Monzese.

In contrast, most versions of pasta alla Monzese are the same. Just luganega di Monza, saffron threads soaked in a little warm water, fresh cream and grated grana padano or parmigiano cheese. Yes, that’s more or less all you need to make this fabulous sausage and saffron pasta.

grated grana cheese added to pasta and sausage sauce in frying pan

Of course, finding the original type of sausage for pasta alla Monzese isn’t easy, even for me. In fact, I used a local luganega which isn’t as rich as the one from Monza. You can also use another type of Italian pork sausage. However, I added a small measure of Marsala wine to the sauce! If you don’t have Marsala, you can add a dash of Maderia wine, port or sherry. But, not a lot, just a tablespoon or two.

organic rigatoni pasta Girolomoni

The pasta I used.

Traditionally, most people use a short ridged pasta tube for this sausage and saffron pasta recipe. You can use penne rigate, rigatoni, mezze maniche or elicoidali. Ridged pasta (rigate) is best because the sauces adheres to it better. I used organic rigatoni from a company called Girolomoni. Their excellent bronze extruded pasta is made with organic durum wheat which they grow themselves. This company is in Le Marche region, near Urbino.

sausage and saffron pasta alla monzese

I’m actually hoping to get the chance to visit them next year as they are located on a beautiful site with a historical monastery at its centre. But, more importantly, I’m really interested to know more about the history of the brand and their cultivation and production methods. I have read that they are one of the pioneers of organic wheat farming in Italy today!

Check out their website for more info Giromoloni pasta.

The saffron.

Saffron has been cultivated in Italy since the 14th century. So, there are many Italian recipes which include it, especially pasta recipes and, of course, the above mentioned risotto Milanese! Most of these saffron pasta recipes come from the regions in which saffron is grown, in particular Sardinia, Marche, Tuscany, Emilia, Abruzzo and Lombardy where they make this pasta alla Monzese recipe.

sausage and saffron pasta alla monzese

The saffron I used actually came from a village called Zollino in Salento, Puglia. My hubby and I visited a farm there when we were on holiday in September.  I used the saffron threads soaked in hot water for this sausage and saffron pasta. But, you can also use a sachet of saffron powder! They say that saffron can taste different to different people. To me, it adds a bitter sweet flavour to a dish and, of course, a lovely golden colour that makes any saffron dish look rich and luxurious, even if the ingredients are simple.

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creamy sausage and saffron pasta recipe from Lombardy

If you do try this creamy sausage and saffron pasta alla Monzese 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.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

Other pasta with saffron recipes on The Pasta Project

  1. Pasta with saffron and pancetta
  2. Italian prawn saffron linguine
  3. Pasta with zucchini flowers, saffron and ham

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creamy sausage and saffron pasta alla monzese
5 from 31 votes
sausage and saffron pasta alla monzese
Creamy Sausage and Saffron Pasta alla Monzese
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
 

This creamy sausage and saffron pasta recipe from Lombardy is actually surprisingly simple to make and has just 4 main ingredients. It is simple enough for a great weeknight dish but rich and luxurious too!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Lombardy, Northern Italy
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, Italian food, Italian recipe, Italian sausage, luganega, saffron, sausage pasta
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
Ingredients
  • 360 g rigatoni or penne (12-13oz)
  • 300 g luganega sausage (10oz) or other Italian pork sausage
  • 250 ml fresh cream (8.5floz) preferably double cream or Italian panna di cucina
  • 60 g Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano (2oz) grated
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads or 1 sachet saffron powder
  • 1-2 tbsp Marsala wine or Madeira, port or sherry
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil. as required
Instructions
  1. If using saffron threads put them in a little hot water to soak. Remove the skin from the sausage and cut the meat into chunks. Brown the sausage meat in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a deep frying pan or skillet

  2. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.

  3. When the luganega (sausage) is well browned, add the Marsala. Let the alcohol evaporate and then add cream and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.

  4. Add the water and saffron to the sauce. Stir and mix well. Raise the heat to thicken the sauce.

  5. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is ready save a cup of the cooking water and drain it. Add the pasta to the pan along with the grated cheese. Mix everything together well. If the sauce seems dry add some of the pasta cooking water. Serve immediately

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63 Comments

  • Avatar
    Michael Bear
    January 12, 2020 10:55 am

    I have followed your blog for some time now and never tried one of your recipes. For the new year I figured that it was about time: Sausage and Saffron Pasta alla Monzese is the first. Made it tonight for friends returning from Sicilia. It was fabulous, we all loved it! Thank you, this will be one that I make many times.

  • Avatar
    Jenni LeBaron
    January 5, 2020 7:52 am

    The moment I reached your home page I was instantly drawn to this creamy pasta dish! The mix of marsala wine and saffron really makes this dish extra spectacular. I can’t wait to devour this delicious Sausage and Saffron Pasta alla Monzese!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      January 6, 2020 1:32 am

      Thank you so much, Jenni! I love the saffron too!

  • Avatar
    Aline
    December 31, 2019 8:04 am

    Wow!!! Where has this recipe been all my life!!?? I love everything about it! Will definitely be making it soon! Thanks for this!!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      January 6, 2020 1:33 am

      Thank you, Aline and glad to help! I hope you get to try it soon!

  • Avatar
    kita
    December 30, 2019 4:56 am

    Wow. Just wow. I absolutely love saffron. Saffron in a sausage pasta. I am not sure there could be anything more heavenly ever!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      January 6, 2020 1:33 am

      It is so good Kita!

  • Avatar
    Tammy
    December 29, 2019 10:10 pm

    Ooh my I’m craving a big bowl of this right now! I love creamy pasta dishes and this sounds absolutely marvelous with the sausage and saffron. Yum!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      January 6, 2020 1:33 am

      Thank you, Tammy!

  • Avatar
    Sharon
    December 29, 2019 4:19 am

    Wine, cream, meaty sausage, and pasta. This is an amazing yet simple dinner.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 9:47 pm

      Thank you, Sharon. Beautiful and simple is the best combination!

  • Avatar
    Aleta
    December 28, 2019 8:44 pm

    Yum!!!! This pasta looks amazing!! I loooove creamy pasta with sausage, though I have yet to try it with saffron. It’s on the menu for next week!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 9:48 pm

      Me too Aleta! Let me know if you love it!

  • Avatar
    Fairlife
    December 28, 2019 8:25 am

    Hi Jacqui! The Sausage and saffron pasta looks simple superb! I really appreciate your writeup. Very helpful for every one. Thanks so much for sharing this with me!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 9:50 pm

      Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Lesli Schwartz
    December 27, 2019 10:40 pm

    I’m loving this tubular pasta, and the addition of the saffron is so interesting to me! Rich and full of flavor, I’m going to be trying this beautiful pasta dish!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 9:50 pm

      Happy to be helpful Lesli, and I hope you try it and love it.

  • Avatar
    Tara
    December 26, 2019 9:38 pm

    This was the perfect way to use some of my saffron from my recent trip abroad. I’m sure the sausage I used wasn’t the same as suggested, but I still loved the flavor.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 9:53 pm

      I am so glad to hear you tried it and loved it!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    December 26, 2019 8:32 pm

    The saffron with the Italian pork sausage sounds absolutely delicious. And a perfect meal for the Holidays as saffron is considered a Christmas spice here in Scandinavia.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 9:54 pm

      That’s so interesting! I love saffron too!

  • Avatar
    Candice
    December 26, 2019 6:22 pm

    Such a wonderful, hearty, and delicious pasta. The saffron adds such a special flavor and aroma… something I never would have imagined putting in pasta. Great idea, and great recipe.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 9:56 pm

      Thank you, Candice. Saffron really is a special ingredient.

  • Avatar
    Kacie Morgan
    December 26, 2019 5:21 pm

    I have some sausage meat to use up after Christmas and so I may just give this a go. I love anything with saffron in it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 10:09 pm

      Such a good idea, Kacie. It will be delicious!

  • Avatar
    Amanda
    December 25, 2019 10:23 pm

    I love everything about this pasta dish! The saffron really makes it special. Thanks so much for sharing yet another tasty recipe!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 10:11 pm

      Thank you, Amanda!

  • Avatar
    Nicoletta De Angelis Nardelli
    December 24, 2019 7:22 pm

    As most Italian pasta dishes, simple, with few good ingredients, and a ton of flavor. I loved luganega when I was in Italy and still ate meat. Never had this particular pasta but love its components. Wonderful!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 10:13 pm

      You are so right Nicoletta! It’s amazing how something so simple can taste so luxurious!

  • Avatar
    Denise
    December 24, 2019 2:23 pm

    While this recipe looks crazy good, I can’t wait to read through your blog! I love Italy and have been there a few times but my husband and I have a fantasy about living there for a couple months so we can see more of it. How great that you can travel around and taste all that great food! I have to show this recipe to my pasta loving sister who is also a great cook. She will love it too.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 29, 2019 10:22 pm

      Thank you, Denise. That sounds like a lovely plan and I hope you get to do just that!

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    December 19, 2019 1:41 pm

    I am all about this pasta. It came out delicious and creamy. The sausage and saffron were such wonderful flavors.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:10 am

      I am so glad that you loved it! It feels very decadent doesn’t it?!

  • Avatar
    Adrianne
    December 19, 2019 12:41 pm

    Wow!! This looks amazing!! I love the combination and saffron in this is that next level delicious. Can’t wait to taste this dinner, will make its soon. Cheers!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:14 am

      Let us know what you think when you do!

  • Avatar
    Dannii
    December 19, 2019 12:36 pm

    Sausage pasta is delicious comfort food and this is a great twist on it.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:15 am

      Thank you, Dannii. Yes, it’s absolute comfort in a dish!

  • Avatar
    Mayuri Patel
    December 19, 2019 11:33 am

    Would have never thought of using saffron to make a delicious pasta dish. Love creamy and flavorful sauces for my pasta dishes.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:16 am

      It is really delicious Mayuri!

  • Avatar
    Farah
    December 19, 2019 11:12 am

    I absolutely love saffron and this sounds spectacular! can’t wait to try this

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:17 am

      Thank you, Farah! The saffron is beautiful in this dish. Hope you try it soon!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    December 19, 2019 12:17 am

    You had me at four simple ingredients and easy to make. This sausage and saffron pasta alla monzese looks so comforting and perfect for a cold night.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:17 am

      It is easy to make, but tastes divine – you can’t get better than that!

  • Avatar
    Alison
    December 18, 2019 11:59 pm

    I love a good recipe that uses saffron. It’s one of my favorite spices, and this pasta turned out creamy and flavorful!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:19 am

      I love saffron too Alison! It is so good with the sausage too.

  • Avatar
    Adriana
    December 18, 2019 11:52 pm

    another fantastic pasta to enjoy it is creamy and so flavorful truly recommend for everyone to try we love it at home.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:20 am

      Thank you, Adriana! I am glad you love it!

  • Avatar
    Cathy
    December 18, 2019 11:30 pm

    I just love all your pasta dishes and of course this one is no exception! I cannot wait to make this recipe! This looks delicious!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:21 am

      Thank you, Cathy! Let us know if you try it!

  • Avatar
    Alina | Cooking Journey Blog
    December 18, 2019 11:11 pm

    Looks delicious! I would love to visit Brianza and try some local food.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:22 am

      It is beautiful, Alina! I hope you get to visit (and of course eat lots of the gorgeous local food!)

  • Avatar
    Julianne Zimmerman
    December 18, 2019 9:23 pm

    Made this for a dinner party. Everyone enjoyed it, Thanks for sharing!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:23 am

      Thank you, Julianne! I am so pleased to hear you made it and loved it!

  • Avatar
    Emily Liao
    December 18, 2019 9:12 pm

    Sausage mixed into pasta is always a good idea! This recipe looks delicious and will definitely be making this later during the week.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:24 am

      Thank you, Emily! It’s perfect for a weeknight – delicious and simple to make.

  • Avatar
    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:25 am

      Thank you for sharing Renato!

  • Avatar
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    December 18, 2019 8:48 pm

    This reminds me so much of the great pasta dishes we had when we went to Italy last summer. I miss it so much and can’t seem to make them as good. This one looks perfect and I can’t wait to try it.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:27 am

      Thank you, Karen! It can be hard to recreate the food from a memory, maybe because everything tastes better when we are on holiday? Let me know if you try this one!

  • Avatar
    Heidy L. McCallum
    December 18, 2019 8:45 pm

    I made this pasta and one-word FANTASTIC! This recipe is a keeper. The whole office loved it at our potluck.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:27 am

      I am so glad to hear that Heidy!

  • Avatar
    stephanie
    December 18, 2019 8:26 pm

    This pasta was so rich and mouth watering delicious. I will definitely be making the recipe again.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      December 23, 2019 4:28 am

      Thank you, Stephanie! I am glad you loved it!

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