James Busby


Shortcut Pork & Fennel Sausage Meatball Rigatoni

A wonderful, stress-free dish to follow and put together. It can be made for a simple weeknight dinner or served to guests when you’re next entertaining. It’s easy, full of flavour and your guests will have no idea that you have taken some shortcuts either!

I’ve paired this recipe with the James Busby Shiraz from the McLaren Vale region. This delightful wine can be purchased from your local Liquorland.


  • 8 good-quality pork sausages of choice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 400g whole peeled tinned tomatoes
  • 700g passata
  • 350g dried rigatoni
  • 1-2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Cracked black pepper

Fresh burrata or buffalo mozzarella cheese to serve.


  1. Squeeze the meat from the sausage casing to create rustic meatballs, you should get approx. 30-38 meatballs depending on how big you make them.
  2. Place a large fry pan onto high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and let it heat. Add the sausage meatballs and brown each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Place the same fry pan back onto medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil and let it heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir through for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and combine. Then add the tinned whole peeled tomatoes and passata. Place the meatballs back into the sauce, turn the heat right down to a gentle simmer and cook for 25-30 mins (It can spit, so feel free to cover 3/4 of the pot with a lid).
  4. Meanwhile, place a large saucepan of salted water onto boil. Once boiling, add the rigatoni pasta and cook, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta sauce.
  5. Once the sauce has simmered for 30 minutes, season well and add the fresh basil leaves. Pour in the cooked rigatoni and gently stir through the tomato sugo. Feel free to add a little of the starchy pasta water if you like a thinner consistency.
  6. You can serve the whole pan to the table and place a larger burrata in the middle to break. Or you can serve up individual bowls and break some bits of fresh buffalo mozzarella onto each pasta. Add some fresh basil leaves for colour.

Serves 4