Penne with Walnuts & Italian Sausage

Penne with Walnuts & Italian Sausage

Breadcrumbs and lemon zest offer a perfect finish for this hearty pasta dish that is sure to become a weeknight favorite.


  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 4 quarts boiling water, salted
  • 6 ounces spicy Italian sausage (removed from casings)
  • 4 ounces walnuts, quartered
  • 1 medium spring onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock, low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Walnut Panko topping
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Panko, breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt to taste


  1. Saute sausage in olive oil breaking up into pieces until it is cooked through and browned—about 5 minutes. Then add the walnuts, spring onion, carrots and garlic. Continue cooking for approximately 3 minutes. Next deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and reduce by half.
  2. While the sausage mixture is cooking, begin cooking the whole wheat penne. Place pasta in salted boiling water for 7-8 minutes. It should be cooked about ¾ of the way, then add it to the sausage mixture and cook for another 4 minutes at a simmer.

  3. Walnut Panko topping: In a sauté pan add the butter and olive oil on medium-high heat. Next add the walnut and panko. Saute while mixing constantly for about 4 minutes, until the panko breadcrumbs turn a golden brown. Remove from heat, add the lemon zest and then top the pasta with the breadcrumb mixture.