Rigatoni Montanaro (With Mushrooms, Sausage, Tomato, Cognac, and Cream) from Tramonti in Delray Beach, Florida

Photo by Fred Bollaci

Tramonti’s Rigatoni Montanaro

This is a favorite pasta dish from Tramonti, a wonderful Italian (Neapolitan) restaurant on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, Florida. It is one of 100 top restaurants featured in my first book, “The Restaurant Diet, How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight” and is the sib of the recently closed landmark Angelo’s of Mulberry Street in New York’s Little Italy, which shut down permanently as a result of the devastating impact of COVID-19’s closures and restrictions on indoor dining have had in the City.


8 ounces sweet (mild) fennel-seasoned Italian sausage (we used two 7-by-1 1/2 inch links)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small Spanish onion, very thinly sliced

2 ounces oyster mushrooms, very thinly sliced

1/4 cup cognac

3 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, plus 4 small clusters fresh basil leaves, for garnish

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups tomato sauce

Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

8 ounces raw rigatoni pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh-grated parmesan cheese


If the sausage is in links, remove the meat from the casings. In a nonreactive large skillet or saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage meat, onions and mushrooms and cook, separating the sausage as much as possible, until it is cooked through and the onions are translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in the cognac. Return to the heat and add the chopped basil leaves, heavy cream, tomato sauce, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently, 10 minutes until the sauce reaches a creamy consistency stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the drained pasta, tossing well. Return to the heat, add the parmesan cheese and toss again until all the pasta is completely coated with the sauce. To serve, divide the pasta among 4 warm serving plates or large bowls. Garnish each with a cluster of small fresh basil leaves.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 495 calories, 42 percent calories from fat, 23 grams total fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 53 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams total fiber, 4 grams total sugars, 49 grams net carbs, 18 grams protein, 996 milligrams sodium.

About Fred Bollaci

I'm CEO and President of Fred Bollaci Enterprises. I lost more than 100 pounds while living "La Dolce Vita" and I'm now known as "The Healthy Gourmet." Sample the good life with me through fitness, fine food, and good wine. Meet chefs who cater to a healthy gourmet lifestyle through my Golden Palate blog.
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