Calabrese Pasta Sauce Recipe With Fusilli

This easy homemade Calabrese Pasta is our favourite traditional recipe from Southern Italy.

It’s easy to make at home since we shopped for all of the ingredients at Eataly, a supermarket that specializes in importing quality regional ingredients from across Italy.

Our authentic Calabrese sauce is slowly simmered, rendering a fragrant and chunky tomato meat sauce featuring tender pork shoulder, fatty pancetta, sweet San Marzano tomatoes and quality Italian red wine.

Toss al dente Fusilli pasta in the Calabrese sauce then serve sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

We’re certain your family and friends will love spinning their forks through “Fusilli Calabrese,” a mouth-watering dish from Calabria!

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Save our homemade Calabrese Pasta Sauce recipe to Pinterest!
Save our homemade Calabrese Pasta Sauce recipe to Pinterest!

Shop For Calabrese Pasta Ingredients At Eataly

If you love cooking authentic regional Italian recipes there’s no better place to shop than at Eataly.

Eataly launched its first “Eating Italian” marketplace in 2007 in Torino, northern Italy. Since then the Italian gastronomy powerhouse has opened more than 35 locations around the world including Florence, Milan, Rome, Istanbul, Seoul, Tokyo, Stockholm, Munich, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vegas, and my hometown of Toronto.

Skip inside Eataly Toronto located in the city’s ritzy Yorkville neighbourhood and you’ll find a collection of restaurants serving regional Italian dishes, casual food and beverage counters, sweet smelling bakery, hands on cooking school, imported dry goods section, fresh pasta made before your eyes, impressive Salumi e Formaggi department, friendly butcher, extensive wine shop, and pretty fresh produce.

I was keen to cook this easy Calabrese Pasta recipe at home so popped by Eataly in search of high quality Italian ingredients.

I started in the dry goods section where I picked up canned Afeltra San Marzano Tomatoes from Campania, Mutti Tomato Paste, Rigorosa Fusilli from southern Italy, and Olearia San Giorgio Ottobratico Slow Food Presidia Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is produced in Calabria.

Strolling over to the Salumi e Formaggi department I grabbed a large wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano DOP. Eataly Toronto offers a mind-boggling 8 varieties of Italy’s most famous cheese. Produced in Emilia Romagna for centuries, Eataly Toronto sells various ages of Parmigiano Reggiano, ranging from 12 months to 48 months, Vacca Bruna (produced with milk sourced from heritage breed Brown Cows), and Vacche Rosse (produced with milk sourced from heritage breed Red Cows).

Throughout the eye-popping Salumi e Formaggi department, shoppers can discover dozens of cured meats sourced from various regions across Italy. I snatched a beautifully fatty round of pancetta for my homemade Calabrese sauce.

On my way to the butcher I plucked onions, carrots and celery before ordering a slab of fatty pork shoulder, which is sourced from Linton Pasture Pork in Walton, Ontario. All meats available from the butcher counter are sourced from farms that raise their animals without any added hormones, steroids, or antibiotics.

Once back in my kitchen I fired up the stove, unpacked my Eataly bounty and prepared this homemade Calabrese Pasta recipe for dinner.

We sourced our Calabrese Sauce recipe ingredients at Eataly.
We sourced our Calabrese Sauce recipe ingredients at Eataly.

What Is Fusilli?

Fusilli are a variety of pasta that are formed into corkscrew or helical shapes.

The word fusilli presumably comes from fuso, as traditionally it is “spun” by pressing and rolling a small rod over the thin strips of pasta to wind them around it in a corkscrew shape.

In addition to plain and whole wheat varieties, as with any pasta, other colours can be made by mixing other ingredients into the dough, which also affects the flavour, for example, beetroot or tomato for red, spinach for green, and squid ink for black.

Fusilli may be solid or hollow. A variant type of fusilli are formed as hollow tubes of pasta that are twisted into springs or corkscrews and are called fusilli bucati. Another variant are twisted long lengths as though spaghetti were coiled around an object known as fusilli lunghi. Fusilli Napoletani are flat lengths of coiled pasta formed around a spindle.

We suggest tossing al dente fusilli lunghi in Calabrese sauce as the spiral shape is ideal for holding chunky meat sugo.

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Fusilli Calabrese features a pork and tomato sauce tossed in al dente pasta.

Travel to Italy by Cooking Calabrese Pasta at Home

I love traveling to Europe!

During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, France, Malta and Italy.

What I love most about traveling to Italy is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The dishes in Tuscany (Florence, Pisa, Volterra, Saturnia, Pitigliano, Sorano, Montalcino, Siena) are unique from what you’d find in Venice, Modena, Milan, Rome and the Amalfi Coast.

Fusilli Calabrese is a dish unique to Calabria in Southern Italy. Our take on the savoury sugo features butter, olive oil, pork shoulder, pancetta, onions, celery, carrots, nutmeg, tomato paste, San Marzano tomatoes and red wine.

This is the perfect homemade Calabrese sauce to prepare for pork lovers with a penchant for feasting on pasta. If you’re looking to cook other authentic pasta sauces from the region try making Pesto Calabrese from scratch.

Once back home from your holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Southern Italy and can impress friends and family by making our easy Calabrese Pasta.

This easy tomato calabrese sauce features tender pork shoulder and pancetta.
This easy tomato calabrese sauce features tender pork shoulder and pancetta.

Where To Eat Fusilli Calabrese

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Italian restaurant that serves Fusilli Calabrese.

Haven’t traveled to Italy before? It may be helpful to first sample Calabrese Pasta at a local Italian restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can also assess the ideal pasta to sugo ratio, texture of the noodles and complimentary side dishes to serve at the table.

In Toronto, popular Italian restaurants in YorkvilleKing West and Ossington that may serve a hearty homemade Calabrese sauce include: BucaSuperpointAmanoFabbricaOrettaFIGONodoLocale MercattoThe Good SonTaverna MercattoAscari EnotecaIl Fornello, Gusto 101 or Bar Vendetta.

Pork lovers Calabrese sauce.
Pork lovers Calabrese sauce.

My Family Loves Calabrese Sauce

I love cooking Italian food for my friends and family!

I first made this Calabrese Pasta recipe for a group of my Italian friends on a sunny day in September.

After shopping at Eataly in the afternoon I whipped up the dish in just a few hours. I served steaming bowls of Fusilli Calabrese with a Tuscan kale salad and bowl of grated Parmigiano Reggiano so guests could top the noodles with however much cheese they craved.

A bowl of steaming Calabrese Pasta scooped straight out of the pot is honestly the best comfort food!

Southern Italy is famous for its Calabrian chilies. The spicy and smoky peppers from Calabria are incredibly versatile, and pack just the right amount of heat without being overpowering.

If you love spicy food you might also want to pick up a bottle of Calabrian Chili Sauce at Eataly and serve it on the table for those who want to add heat to their pasta bowls.

Calabrese Fusilli Pasta Photo Image.
Calabrese Fusilli Pasta Photo Image.

Health Benefits

Our easy Calabrese Pasta recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Celery is a great source of antioxidants, reduces inflammation and supports digestions.

An excellent source of vitamin A and the phytochemical beta-carotene, carrots help keep your eyes and bones healthy, and may help protect against several types of cancer.

Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Nutmeg is said to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function and improve blood circulation.

This Calabrese Pasta recipe is the perfect Italian comfort food.
This Calabrese Pasta recipe is the perfect Italian comfort food.

Calabrese Pasta Recipe Cooking Tips

This simple Calabrese Pasta recipe is quick and easy to make at home.

  • Use a large pot or Dutch Oven with a lid to simmer the Calabrese sauce.
  • We suggest using pork lard to cook the sofrito (celery, carrots, onion). If you don’t have pork lard at home you can ask your butcher for a fatty piece of pork shoulder. Slice off the fat and simmer it in the pot to render and then add the finely chopped vegetables. Alternatively you can use butter.
  • A key ingredient in this pasta sauce is pancetta, a salt-cured pork belly salume. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store feel free to substitute with prosciutto or smoked ham.
  • We’ve used pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) in this recipe but you can also use pork spare ribs.
  • We like to serve the dish sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano but you can use other Italian hard cheeses like pecorino or asiago.
Pair Calabrese sauce with your favourite Italian red wine.
Pair Calabrese sauce with your favourite Italian red wine.

What To Serve With Calabrese Pasta

There’s nothing more comforting than cozying up to a bowl of homemade pasta.

If you’re hosting an Italian-themed dinner party we suggest serving Calabrese Pasta as part of a decadent buffet featuring:

For a light lunch or dinner, pair this pasta recipe with fresh salads like Vegetarian Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad, Roasted Beetroot Salad, Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad and Fennel, Apple, Celery and Roasted Hazelnut Salad.

Serve Calabrese Pasta topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Serve Calabrese Pasta topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Other Pasta Recipes You May Enjoy…

How To Make Easy Calabrese Pasta Sauce

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Calabrese Pasta Ragu Sauce

How to make homemade Calabrese Pasta Sauce. Our easy Fusilli Calabrese recipe features a tomato sauce with pork shoulder and pancetta.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Calabrese Pasta
Servings: 6
Calories: 671kcal

Equipment

  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • French knife
  • Large pot
  • Sautee Pan
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Colander

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Pork Lard or Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive OIl
  • 1 lb Pork Shoulder or Spare Ribs cut into 2-inch pieces, salted
  • 3.5 oz Pancetta diced
  • 2 Cooking Onions diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks diced
  • 2 Carrots diced
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • Kosher Salt + Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup Dry Red Italian Wine
  • 28 oz Canned San Marzano Tomatoes crushed
  • 1 lb Fusilli Pasta
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

Instructions

  • Melt the lard/butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the fat begins to shimmer, add the pork shoulder and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes, then remove the pork and set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, add the pancetta, and cook until the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Add the onions, celery, carrots, nutmeg and pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are soft and onions are translucent, around 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook until it turns a deep red, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, 2-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and pork and enough water to cover, then season with salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the pork is fork-tender, 1-2 hours. Keep the pork at least halfway submerged adding water as needed.
  • Check for doneness frequently after the 1 hour mark. When a toothpick or fork easily goes through the meat, it's finished. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the fusilli and cook based on package directions until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking water, and add to the ragu, stirring to coat. Add some pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce loosely clings to the pasta, about 1 minute.
  • Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 671kcal | Carbohydrates: 55.8g | Protein: 36.1g | Fat: 30.6g | Saturated Fat: 10.8g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 549mg | Potassium: 1076mg | Fiber: 3.5g | Sugar: 7.9g | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 5mg

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