Sometimes, it can get so hot in East Coast summers that any solid food seems thoroughly unappealing. For those moments, I present a summer pasta that is light enough for a hot day but hearty enough to leave you satisfied – cavatappi with shrimp and sausage.

I love combining different proteins in one dish – in this case shrimp and sausage – for a delectable flavor bomb. The cooked lemon slices offer a nice balance, rounded out by peppery arugula and topped off with shaved parmesan cheese. Cavatappi with shrimp and sausage is surf and turf in pasta form.

serves 4-6


  • 1 pound loose spicy sausage (if you can only find sausage in casing, remove it from the casing before cooking)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 16 ounces dried cavatappi
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lemon, sliced with seeds removed
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved


Bring a large pot of about 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, pinch 1 tablespoon-sized nuggets of sausage off and into the pan. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove the sausage nuggets from the pan and drain off all but 1 teaspoon of sausage fat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, onion, 1 teaspoon of the salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Cook until translucent then add the garlic. Cook until blonded, then reserve the onions and garlic with the cooked sausage.

Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the same pan and heat over medium. When the butter begins to bubble, add the lemon slices, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and cook until lightly browned on each side. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the salted water and cook for 5 minutes. 

While the pasta cooks, stack the lemon slices to one side of the pan and add the last tablespoon of butter. Place the shrimp in an even layer on the pan and cook for 90 seconds on each side. Then remove the shrimp and lemon slices from the pan.

Strain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of salty pasta water. Add the pasta and pasta water to the pan with the lemons. Cook until the water has evaporated, then return the reserved onions, garlic, and sausage to the pan. Lower the heat, add in the arugula, and stir. Turn off the heat and serve hot, topped with shaved parmesan.