Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta swimming in a tomato cream sauce should be a go-to weeknight dish for everyone; it’s comforting, simple, and if you have some pantry basics, quick to throw together at the last minute. This very adds Spanish or Portuguese chorizo for flavor, complementing it with peas and black olives. The addition of rosemary to the sauce lends some complexity and brings the dish back to Italy.

This will give you enough for two (with plenty of leftovers for lunch!!!), or four if you serve it with some greens and a light dessert or glass of wine. Tradition would suggest a high-acid red wine to counter the richness of the cream sauce, but I liked this with a pleasant California chardonnay, in my case the 2009 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbera Chardonnay, a great value for $15.

Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

Rotini with Chorizo, Peas, and Olives in a Rosemary Tomato Cream Sauce

  • 12 ounces (roughly a package) of whole wheat rotini, such as Bella Terra Organic
  • 2 shallots, sliced into rings ~1/8″ thick
  • 4 oz Spanish or Portuguese chorizo; the cured kind, not the fresh Mexican stuff, sliced into 1/4″ discs
  • ~18 pitted and roughly chopped black olives (I used Kalamata for their brininess but if you adjust your seasoning at the end … and I know that you will … use whatever kind you like.)
  • one sprig rosemary
  • 1 cup peas, fresh, but frozen if not in season
  • 1 cup basic red tomato sauce, like the kind you would already have in the fridge if you looked at the second recipe in this Italian Wonton post.
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • kosher or sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil

On to the mechanics …

  1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Drizzle some olive oil into it, it doesn’t affect the taste, but it’ll help keep it from over boiling and making a mess.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and stir. Reduce the heat — you just want to sweat them a bit.
  3. When they’re limp, add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until that beautiful red oil begins to leech out and the chorizo is heated through.
  4. Add the olives, rosemary, and peas. Continue to cook, stirring off and on, until the peas are starting to cook.
  5. Remove the rosemary and add the red sauce and the cream. Stir everything together, and drop your pasta in what should be your boiling water. Continue stirring the sauce every so often.
  6. After the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and transfer to a bowl.
  7. When the sauce reduces to a texture that you like, add the butter and stir to integrate it into the sauce. Check your salt and pepper, adjusting as necessary, and remove from heat.
  8. Dress the pasta by adding just enough to coat the rotini. This is quite rich, so will take less than you think. Make sure you include the chorizo, peas, and olives. The rest of the sauce will keep for a few days. It’s good over scrambled eggs, though perhaps a bit decadent.
  9. Plate and serve. Top with some fresh Parm if you’re in the mood.
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