La Vera Cucina

Salsiccia Nicole

In his cozy trattoria, Casa d’Italia, Anthony Donatone enjoys treating Seattle, WA, locals to the lively flavors of rustic, regional cooking. Here he shares his recipe for Salsiccia Nicole, which he created around his father’s favorite vegetable, the beet. Anthony named it “Nicole” in honor of another family member, Nicolas, who shares his love of cooking.

With its sauce tinted purple by the juice of roasted beet, Salsiccia Nicole is a visually striking dish, featuring chunks of roasted sweet beet, hearty Italian sausage, and a hint of tangy Gorgonzola, tossed together with spiral-shaped cavatappi pasta.



  • 1 large fresh beet, peeled
  • 2 links mild Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Dash freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces (dry weight) cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente and drained
  • 1 tablespoon shaved pecorino Romano cheese
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley


Place beet in small roasting pan; add ½ inch water; cover with foil and roast at 400°F. 60–75 minutes, or until tender. Remove beet from pan, let cool, and dice. Reserve beet juice.

In oven-proof skillet, briefly brown sausage. Transfer skillet to oven; bake at 350°F about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Return skillet to medium heat; add wine and deglaze pan. Set sausage aside to cool; slice ¼ inch thick.

Transfer deglazed wine to a medium skillet. Stir in cream and Gorgonzola; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until cheese has melted. Stir in basil, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in butter. Stir in diced beet and enough beet juice to thin sauce a little. Stir in sausage. Heat through. Stir in hot, cooked pasta. Plate and serve immediately, garnished with pecorino Romano cheese in the center and sprinkled parsley around the edges. Makes 1 to 2 servings.