Medieval Casarecce Pasta

Forget tomato sauce, this blast from the past pasta uses dried fruit and nuts for surprisingly bold flavors.


  • 1/2 pounds short pasta, such as orecchiette or casarecce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Olive oil
  • 4 ounces sweet Italian sausage, sliced down the middle to de-case
  • Fennel seeds, ground
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Nutmeg
  • Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon mascarpone


  1. Set a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta.
  2. In a sauté pan, add butter and olive oil, then add the sausage and cook until golden. Add the crushed fennel seeds.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
  4. Add the walnuts and toast for 45 seconds, then push aside.
  5. Add the cranberries to the pan, followed by the cooked pasta. Grate nutmeg over the top and toss to combine.
  6. Add Parmesan and mascarpone, stirring to combine. Enjoy!