Simplicity is the essence of Italian cuisine. This super-easy, no fuss pasta dish brings all the flavour of salami to tomato for a fragrant, tangy sauce – learn how to make it at home with my easy-to-follow recipe.
Sometimes all I want for dinner is a sit-down! Often, I just want a dish that doesn't take forever but delivers big on flavour. The great thing about Italian food is that it can be super easy and quick to put together.
Salami - a ready-made flavour bomb
A great way to add flavour to any Italian pasta dish is to use an ingredient that comes with flavour built-in! Enter salami! This cured sausage has so much flavour, making it the perfect ingredient for a quick dinner pasta. With so many varieties of Salami out there, using it as an ingredient can shape and change the taste of this dish infinitely. Spicy, mild, fennel infused and even truffle! - find the salami you like the best and bring your penne to life!
I first learned this dish way back in the 90s at the rather amazing Italian deli 'Valvona & Crolla' in Edinburgh, Scotland. A pasta-making class had us all making fresh dough, along with this simple sauce. From that moment it became (and still is) a regular go-to. I still use that technique for how to make fresh egg pasta too. I'll mostly use a mild fennel-infused salami and on occasion, a spicy version. I like to buy the whole salami in thin sausage form and cut it into cubes for cooking, but thin slices also work well. You can also use Spanish chorizo for a smoky version.
There's not really much to this dish, simply frying a little onion, adding the salami cubes, and then tangy tomato sauce (get some good quality canned tomatoes, like my favourite Mutti brand) - you can also grab some San Marzano tomatoes and whizz them into a passata.
Tossed into penne (or your pasta of choice) this dish becomes a wonderful marriage of colour, texture and flavour. You'll see just how easy and quick this dish is to get on the table - learn how by following my simple recipe.
In a saucepan or deep frying pan, heat the oil until just hot. Add the onion and fry gently for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the salami and garlic and continue to fry for 4-5 minutes until the salami has rendered out its fat.
Pour in the tomato and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper then remove from the heat.
Cook the penne to the packet instructions in salted water - and when done, drain (retain about a cup of the cooking liquid).
Toss the pasta through the sauce, adding some of the cooking liquid to keep the dish nice and saucy.
Serve in bowls with Parmigiano Reggiano sprinkled over.
Penne with Salami
Amount Per Serving
Calories 810Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Vitamin A 241IU5%
Vitamin C 22mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course | Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine | Italian
Keyword | Pasta with Penne, Penne Pasta, Salami Pasta