Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Paccheri with Sour Cream and Salami

Whoever thinks sour cream has no place in Italian cuisine, clearly has just never tried the right recipe. There’s many Italian dishes that make use of fresh cheese, and sour cream works just as well, tying together ingredients that may otherwise seem difficult to combine. Today I present you with a very tasty and quick pasta sauce, perfect to enjoy during the tomato season.

Before getting started, though, let’s have a look at the pasta shape we’re going to use.

Paccheri are a dried short cylindrical pasta shape, similar to a giant macaroni. They have Neapolitan origins and are made exclusively with durum wheat semolina. As for many pasta shape, their surface can be either smooth (paccheri lisci) or with thin indented stripes (paccheri rigati).

What is the difference between the two? The paccheri with smooth surface are better suited for simpler sauces, such as a plain tomato sauce. Paccheri rigati‘s porous and uneven surface, instead, tends to pair better with more elaborated sauces. Both kinds of paccheri are perfect for baking – but we’ll get back to this in another recipe.

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins

  • Paccheri rigati: 380 g
  • Sour cream: 150 g
  • Tomatoes, medium sized: 5
  • Italian salami: about 4 slices
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Golden onions: 1
  • Basil: about 10 leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 4 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Bring some salted water to boil in a pot and pour in the paccheri.

Peel the garlic cloves and instead of cutting them simply crush them under the palm of your hand or the flat side of a knife’s blade. Finely chop up the onion, the tomatoes and the salami slices.

Tip: You will achieve an optimal sauce only if the tomatoes are well ripen, of a rich dark red colour. You can also use cherry tomatoes, just make sure to alter the quantities accordingly.

Heat up the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry up the garlic until it browns. We want the garlic to only flavour the oil, but not to be in the actual sauce; therefore, once it has browned it needs to be carefully removed from the pan.

Fry up the onion and the salami in the pan; the salami should become crispy, but not burnt. Add the tomatoes and the basil and cook through until the flavours combine. Add the sour cream and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Drain the paccheri from the water as soon as they are ready, to avoid overcooking them, and make sure to save a spoonful of the salted water. Mix the paccheri with the sauce directly in the pan, on a low fire. If the sauce is too thick, add the spoonful of salted water that you previously set aside.

Remove the pan from the heat and serve the pasta still warm.

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