Rigatoni with Italian Sausage, Mascarpone + Walnuts

A pan with Rigatoni and a wooden spoon sticking out

5 from 4 reviews

This Rigatoni with Italian Sausage, Mascarpone + Walnuts is a rich, flavorful pasta recipe that can be on your table in under 30 minutes! Perfectly al dente Rigatoni pasta tossed in a velvety Mascarpone tomato sauce and finished with a shower of crunchy chopped walnuts. It might sound strange, but it's absolutely to die for. Only 6 ingredients required!


  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, gently crushed with the side of a knife
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste, plus plenty of salt for the pasta water
  • 1/2 lb Rigatoni or any other short shaped pasta *(see note)
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped


  1. Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring it up to a boil.
  2. Add the sausage to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a spatula to break it up into little bits as it cooks. When the sausage is browned, add the garlic cloves and cook for about a minute.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, lower the heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water, then drop in the pasta, give it a stir, and cook until al dente (follow package directions as time will vary with each brand). 
  5. While the pasta cooks, stir the mascarpone into the tomato sauce until blended. Remove the garlic cloves and discard if desired (I always leave them in). 
  6. Scoop out a cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta when it's ready, then add it to the pan with the sauce. Toss around for a few minutes until fully each piece of pasta is fully coated in sauce. Add more pasta water a little bit at a time to help loosen it up if the sauce is too thick. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  7. Sprinkle with the chopped walnuts, then serve immediately.


*This recipe works very well with chick pea and lentil pasta for a healthier, gluten free version. If using, be sure to rinse the pasta under warm water after draining and before adding to the sauce and use plain tap water in place of pasta water to add in.


Keywords: pasta, italian, tuscan, sausage, nuts, dinner