Pici and Tuscan Sausage Ragu

July 27, 2017 (Last Updated: July 14, 2020) by Emily

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A rich and flavour packed Tuscan sausage ragu made with the most delicious Italian sausages, fennel seeds, red wine and plum tomatoes, cooked to perfection and served with Pici pasta.


This Tuscan sausage ragu is one of my favourite recipes that I’ve been making for years way before I lived here and used to visit Bella Italia on holiday.

Yes, I’m that person that goes on holiday to cook for hours and I love it.

The ragu is very simple and extremely easy to make. Ok, it takes a little time but not hours, just enough time for the beautiful flavours to develop and the sauce to become, rich and deep in flavour.

Tuscan Sausages

The sausages are the main ingredient and the star of the whole dish so it’s extremely important to use high-quality sausages, the best you can get your hands on.

No matter what supermarket or butcher I go to in Italy the sausages like all food are high-quality and bursting with flavour.

One thing I have noticed about their sausages is that they are very well seasoned. Because of this whatever dish I’m making with sausages requires hardly if not any added salt, these babies add all the seasoning that’s needed.

The sausages (unless they’re salsicce piccante) don’t have any chili or hot pepper flakes in them instead they are packed full of fennel seeds, rosemary, red wine and garlic.

I love reading the ingredients list on the packages, there are no preservatives or nasties just honest, natural food and herbs, no wonder they taste so damn delicious.


Il Soffritto

The ragu starts like a lot of Italian sauces, stews and soups, with Il Soffritto.

Il Soffritto is very simply, finely chopped carrot, celery and white onion sauteed slowly with a little olive oil for about 10 minutes until soft but not brown.

This adds incredible depth of flavour to many dishes and can even be made in advance to add into weeknight meals for an extra flavour punch.

How to make il soffritto

Finely chop equal amounts of carrot, white onion and celery.

They don’t have to be exactly equal amounts, just roughly around about the same. For this Tuscan sausage ragu, I use 1 medium sized carrot, 1 celery stick and 1 small white onion.

Saute the chopped veggies in a large pan with a little olive oil.

The key is to saute the veg slowly on a low/medium heat so they soften and release all the delicious flavours without browning or burning.


Ok let’s talk about that Pici pasta though, how amazing is it?

Pici pasta is famously used for Cacio e Pepe, a cheesy peppery dish that’s also frequently called Pici e Pepe which I just love to say so much more.

It’s super thick spaghetti shaped fresh pasta that is so delicious with many sauces and goes perfectly with this Tuscan sausage ragu. 

This sausage ragu is so perfect for weeknights, you can make it in advance the day before or freeze it for a speedy supper.

It’s also as equally special to have at the weekend. It’s that type of dish that could be served up for date night or eaten on the sofa in your pyjamas with a large glass of vino rosso.

For more easy pasta recipes try;

If you’ve tried this Pici with Tuscan sausage ragu or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

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A flavour packed Tuscan sausage ragu made with the best Italian sausages, fennel seeds, red wine and garlic. An easy Italian ragu recipe perfect to make ahead for a weeknight meal or for weekends. Find more Italian pasta recipes and authentic Italian recipes at Inside the rustic kitchen.
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5 from 6 votes

Pici with Tuscan Sausage Pasta

A rich and flavour packed Tuscan sausage ragu made with the most delicious Italian sausages, fennel seeds, red wine and plum tomatoes, cooked to perfection and served with Pici pasta.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 774kcal
Author Emily Kemp


  • 1 lb Tuscan or Italian sausages (490g)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 large sprig rosemary
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine (120ml)
  • 28 oz canned plum tomatoes (800g)
  • 3/4 cup water (200ml)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lbs pici pasta (500g)


  • Very finely chop the carrot, onion, celery and garlic, set aside. remove the sausages from their casings and add to a large pan under a medium heat. Break the sausages up as they brown using the side of a wooden spoon. Once browned, remove the sausages to a plate and drain any excess fat that's in that pan.
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and adjust the heat to medium/low. Add the carrot, celery and onion and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon for around 10 minutes until the veg is soft and the onions are translucent but not brown.
  • Add the sausage meat back to the pan and add the garlic for 1 minute then add the wine. Stir the mixture for 1 minute then add the canned tomatoes and water. Add a good pinch of pepper, the fennel seeds and the sprig of rosemary.
  • Let the ragu simmer for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may need to add another splash of water half way through if it starts to reduce too much.
  • Once the ragu is ready turn it down to the lowest heat possible and bring a pot of salty water to a boil. Add the pici pasta and cook according to packet instructions, once cooked remove the pasta from the water using a spaghetti spoon into the ragu. Toss the pasta through the ragu then serve in large bowls. Serve with grated parmesan.


Serves 4-6
Please note this recipe was tested and developed using metric measurements, all imperial measurements are approximate.


Calories: 774kcal
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
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  • Reply
    November 19, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    my first time trying this recipe, and my employer loved it so much. They said; they felt like , they were eating in a restorant! Thank you for this recipe.5 stars

  • Reply
    September 24, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    This has become one of my favorite meals to make! So flavorful and absolutely delicious! New family favorite…. Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  • Reply
    September 7, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Iโ€™m making this now for my second time. Love it. Thank you!5 stars

  • Reply
    December 15, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    A tablespoon of fennel seeds?
    I guess it should be a teaspoon.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    You forgot to mention how/when you incorporated the fennel seeds…Otherwise, it sounds great and I will use it as inspiration for my dinner tonight.

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      October 24, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Opps sorry about that Janet, well spotted! I’ve updated the recipe now, they get added with the rosemary and pepper. I hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Arleen butterworth
    July 29, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I would love to try this recipe however where in the world would I buy pici pasta.. Is it readily available?

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      July 29, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Hey Arleen, I’m not too sure, you could try an Italian speciality food store if there is one near you or online. Alternatively, you could use the thickest spaghetti you can find. Thick square spaghetti may be more readily available in supermarkets which would work great too.

  • Reply
    Brandi Crawford
    July 27, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I haven’t tried pici. This looks so tasty. I definitely need to give this a go!5 stars

  • Reply
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
    July 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I love pasta night every night and I bet my husband would enjoy this sauce!! Yum!5 stars

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      July 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Haha I know, I couldn’t just have pasta one night a week, it’s almost every day for me!

  • Reply
    July 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    As soon as I saw that chubby pasta I had to know what it was! I had no idea Cacio e Pepe was made with a special pasta, I thought it was just a fat spaghetti, now I have to keep an eye out for the pasta to make this in the future.

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      July 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      I love cooking with pici it’s not only delicious but a fun change too, definitely try it if you find it!

  • Reply
    Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs
    July 27, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Why have I nev er tried pici before?! This looks LUSH. I also love susage in pasta so this is right up my street ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    July 27, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I love pasta with sausages, although I use vegetarian ones, complete meal.5 stars

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