When I released my Sausage & Shells, it broke the pasta internet (Rachael Ray was a huge fan). And my Alla Vodka is one of the most popular recipes in my first cookbook (the orange one). So it was only fitting to sort of marry the two into a huge crowdpleaser I like to call Sausage Curls.
This pasta is so outrageous and easy to make. So much that if the Instant Pot was around back when the big bad wolf paid the three little pigs a visit, things may have turned out a little differently.
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, divided
- 2 large shallots, diced
- 2 pounds Italian sausage (I used a mix of sweet and hot), sliced into 1/4-inch chunks
- 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 3 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided (I like Rao's or Victoria)
- 3 1/2 cups garlic broth (I use 1 heaping tablespoon of Garlic Better Than Bouillon + 3 1/2 cups of water) or chicken broth
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 pound cavatappi or cellentani
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with their juices
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 1 (5.2-ounce) package of Boursin (any flavor) or 4 ounces of a brick of cream cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, plus more for topping
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce
- Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and Adjust so it's on the More or High setting. Once melted, add the shallot and sauté for 2 minutes until just softened. Add the sausage and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes longer until the sausage is just lightly browned (it should not be fully cooked at all).
- Add 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce, broth and fresh basil leaves. Stir until well combined.
- Top with the pasta but do not stir. Just smooth it out with a mixing spoon or spatula so it's mostly submerged in the sauce. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter cut into pats, the can of stewed tomatoes and baby spinach.
- Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position and hit Cancel followed by Manual or Pressure Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release when done.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of marinara, heavy cream, Parmesan, Boursin or cream cheese, and fresh oregano. If using the optional spicy ingredients, feel free to add those now as well. Stir until the dairy is fully combined into sauce. Let it rest for about 3 minutes to come together before serving topped with additional Parmesan and oregano, if desired.
Like a sponge, pasta always continues to absorb whatever liquids or sauces that coat it - even after cooking. If you have leftovers, just heat it up in your Instant Pot on Sauté and stir in a little milk or cream to reconstitute the sauciness!
To easily slice a sausage link, pop them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and they will slice without the meat coming out of the casing - a total game changer!