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Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta

Italian sausage pasta is the easy weeknight hero you need in your routine!

Al dente penne gets smothered in a rich and creamy meaty tomato sauce. Ready in 40 minutes, it’s an instant family favorite. 

It also doesn’t make a mess of everything. So minimal dishes also mean minimal clean-up!

Italian Sausage Pasta
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Italian Sausage Pasta 

Italian sausage pasta is a simple dish that packs a ton of coziness into one skillet.

From the ingredients to the instructions, it’s a breeze to make. With just a pot and skillet, you can whip it up. 

The canned tomatoes, half and half, dried herbs, and Italian sausage create the most comforting sauce. 

Along with the gooey mozzarella and nutty Parmesan, the penne goes from basic to absolutely delish!

Cheesy Italian sausage pasta in skillet.

Ingredients

You don’t need much to make this easy pasta recipe. The ingredients keep things simple and fuss-free. 

Here’s what goes into this dish:

  • Penne – This hearty shape holds up well smothered in the rich, meaty sauce. You can also use cavatappi, farfalle, or rigatoni pasta. 
  • Italian Sausage – Hot, mild, or sweet, use whatever Italian sausage you like.
  • Onion and Garlic – For more depth and aromatics. 
  • Diced Tomatoes – Canned diced tomatoes make the dish more robust. Plus, they’re convenient and inexpensive. 
  • Seasonings – Enhance the savory flavors with dried oregano, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • Half and Half – A touch of cream tones down the acidity of the tomatoes. It also creates a rich, delicious sauce. You could use heavy cream, too.
  • Cheese – Grate Parmesan and mozzarella cheese from the block. Whole milk, low-moisture mozzarella, and quality Parmesan will have the best results.

How to Make Italian Sausage Pasta

Craving a big bowl of this cozy sausage pasta? Great news! You can have it ready in a jiffy with minimal fuss. 

Follow these simple steps:

1. Cook the pasta. Cook the penne according to package directions until al dente. 

2. Cook the Italian sausage. In a skillet, cook the Italian sausage until no longer pink. Transfer to a plate. Don’t drain the fat.

3. Add the onions and garlic. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. (Optional: deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine or chicken broth).

4. Build the sauce. Add the canned tomatoes. Then, add the dried oregano, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the half and half, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes. 

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5. Add the remaining ingredients. Add the cooked sausage to the skillet. Add the pasta and toss. Stir in the Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

6. Serve. Enjoy immediately. 

Cheesy and gooey Italian sausage pasta served on a white plate.

Recipe Tips & Variations

I make this dish a lot! So I’ve included some tips and variations that will come in handy.

  • Resist the urge to use bagged cheese. Shred or grate cheese freshly from a block for the best flavor and melting texture.
  • Give it a flavor boost. For an extra savory flavor, add 1/2 of a bouillon cube. It adds a ton of depth to the dish!
  • Make it even more saucy. For a more saucy dish, use passata or canned crushed tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes.
  • Spice it up. If you like spicy foods, kick up the heat! Red pepper chili flakes, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce will take it up a notch.

How to Store

Leftover pasta doubles as lunch the next day! You can also freeze it for a quick meal for a busy week. 

Either way, here’s how to store and reheat:

To Store: Store leftover pasta in an air-tight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

To Freeze: Transfer the cooled leftover pasta to a freezer-friendly container. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: Reheat on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cream or broth if needed.

Serving of Italian sausage pasta on a plate top view.

What to Serve with Sausage Pasta

Want to make this pasta part of a bigger meal? Then serve it up family-style with some scrumptious sides!

Here are some pairings my family loves:

More Pasta Recipes

Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole
Easy One Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Ground Turkey Pasta 
Cowboy Spaghetti
Baked Rigatoni Pasta

Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta

Course: Main CourseCuisine: American
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Total time

40

minutes

This Italian sausage pasta is totally restaurant-worthy! Penne pasta is mixed with a creamy tomato meat sauce for a meal you won’t forget.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces penne or fusilli pasta

  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt it, and add your pasta to the pot. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Cook and crumble the Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s no longer pink, remove it with a slotted spoon. Leave the fat in the skillet.
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. (Optional: deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine or chicken broth.)
  • Add the diced tomatoes with liquid to the skillet. Use the liquid to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.
  • Season with the dried oregano, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the half and half and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Return the cooked sausage to the skillet. Add the pasta and toss until everything is coated in the sauce.
  • Stir in the Parmesan and mozzarella cheese until everything is gooey and cheesy.
  • Serve immediately with garlic bread and your favorite salad. Enjoy!
Italian Sausage Pasta

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta”

  1. I am adding this to my weekly menu for this week! You suggested swapping out the booze, aka wine, for more chicken broth. Neither are mentioned in the recipe. Perhaps a typo. Yes, shred your own cheese. The pre-shredded cheese has a coating to keep it from clumping and also prevents it from melting nicely. The rind of the Parmesan is great to throw into soups. I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

    Reply
    • Hi Angel! Thanks for catching that. I’ve added a note in the recipe 🙂
      You can add an optional splash of white wine or chicken broth after cooking the onions and garlic to deglaze the pan. Then continue as instructed. But it’s not a must and the dish will be just as tasty without it.
      Hope this helps, and thanks again!

      Reply

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