Party Food

Fusilli with Sausage & Mushrooms

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“Post sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are 100% my own.”

Are you going out for Valentine’s Day? Although it’s a pleasure to have someone else fix (and clean up after!) a special meal, I’d rather avoid waiting to be seated in noisy, crowded restaurants during holidays. With a date night in you can still dress up if you want—or not!—and enjoy peaceful conversation at your own table for two.

Pasta with Mushrooms and Sausage

I think it is fun to kick things up a notch for a memorable meal at home. There’s no pressure and it ends up being pure satisfaction to create something special out of the ordinary. For example, I like to decide on a theme (yes, I even do that sometimes for just our family), pull out my best dishes and do a festive centerpiece. A cruise around the grocery store aisles can provide all the fodder you need to make everything. If you stop at Kroger’s you can pick up a fresh flower bouquet and candles to include in your centerpiece.  You can find what you need for a wonderful cheese and wine pairing, too, and you’ll be amazed at what you can pick up in their bakery.

Bertolli Riserva Marinara Sauce

Right now Kroger is holding sampling events of Bertolli® Riserva Sauce and Carando Italian Sausage at select stores, so check that out for an opportunity to get inspired. It got me thinking about an Italian theme of course, which seems perfect for a romantic Valentine’s dinner.

Premium Bertolli® Riserva is available as Marinara with Parmigiano-Reggiano Sauce, Asiago Cheese and Artichokes Sauce, Balsamic Vinegar and Caramelized Onions Sauce (yum!), and Porcini Mushrooms with Truffle Oil. So many flavors make it easy to infuse favorite Italian dishes with taste variations, even while staying with the theme.

Pasta Recipe with Sausage

And the sausage? Carando has been using herbs, peppers and savory flavors to create their old world flavors since the early 1900’s. They have a new line of authentic Italian sausage that you can find in the fresh meat section at Kroger. In addition to the Carando sausage I bought, they have Toscano sausage with mild herbs, fennel and anise, Venetian sausage that features basil and bell peppers, and Abruzzese sausage that blends Italian cheese and herbs.

Sausage and Pasta Recipe

Marinara, sausage and pasta are an awesome combination.



  • 1 pound Carando Italian sausage links
  • 1 tablespoon Bertolli® Classico™ Olive Oil
  • 12 ounces Portobello, cremini or white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 jar Bertolli® Riserva Marinara with Parmigiano-Reggiano sauce
  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta [or spiral pasta], cooked and drained
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Pasta with Sausage and Mushrooms


  1. Brown sausage in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from skillet and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat and cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender. Return sausage to skillet. Stir in sauce and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Spoon sauce over hot pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

Pasta Mushroom Sausage Recipe

How about you—what do you do for a date night at home? With what you’d spend on one restaurant date night, you can probably create multiple date nights at home. Tell us what you’d create with Bertolli® and Carando (including the campaign hashtags (#BertolliDateNight & #CarandoDateNight) for a chance to win a $50 Kroger Gift Card.

Ahh…that’s amore!

Use the Rafflecopter form below to get your entries in for a $50 Kroger gift! Open in the US only until 11:59pm ET on Friday, February 26, 2016. Good luck!

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Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.