This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This easy sausage rigatoni recipe is made with everyday ingredients but tastes like it came from a restaurant. It has Italian sausage simmered in a rich, garlicky tomato sauce!

You may also enjoy my Italian Sausage Orzo Soup or Easy Italian Sausage Tomato Pasta.

a bowl of Italian sausage rigatoni

Why you’ll love it

Pasta with sausage is always a good idea. This one is super simple to make with a few pantry staples, and it’s ready in just 30 minutes. That makes this Italian sausage rigatoni great for busy weeknights. You can throw it together fast, and a lot of the cooking is hands off!

Your kitchen is going to smell amazing while the tomato sauce is simmering away. This creamy pasta recipe is straight out of the quick and easy sausage pasta recipes section of the Salt & Lavender playbook, so I know your family will adore it.

What you’ll need

  • Pasta – rigatoni is perfect to capture all the meaty sauce, but you can use any shape
  • Italian sausage – I like to make this with spicy Italian sausage, but it’s equally good with mild
  • Onion and garlic – sweet (Vidalia) onions are my go-to
  • Tomatoes – we’re using both canned crushed and diced tomatoes. One needs to be much thicker than the other to get the sauce texture right, so substitute with caution!
  • Heavy cream – it takes the acidic edge off tomatoes and adds richness and silkiness
  • Basil – for a pop of freshness and to complement the tomatoes
ingredients for sausage rigatoni in prep bowls

Pro tip

If your tomatoes are a bit sour, you can add in a little sugar. Start with 1/2 teaspoon or so. This is a trick chefs use all the time for tomato sauce!

How to make sausage rigatoni

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing Italian sausage and onion in a skillet then adding tomatoes

Boil the pasta. Meanwhile, sauté the onion and sausage in a skillet, breaking it up as you go along, until the meat is browned. Stir in the garlic, cooking until fragrant. Drain some of the fat, then add in the tomatoes.

adding cream and basil to a skillet with italian sausage and tossing with rigatoni

Simmer the sauce until it’s reduced a little. Stir in the heavy cream, fresh basil, and then season with salt & pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes, then toss with the drained pasta. Top with fresh parmesan if using.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

Substitutions and variations

  • I don’t recommend subbing something lower fat for the cream (e.g. half-and-half). The acidity of the tomatoes is likely to break the sauce if you go that route. You can leave the cream out if you absolutely have to, but the texture will be affected.
  • Want to add a bit of wine to the sauce? No problem. I would simmer it a little longer, but the flavor would be amazing.
  • Toss in a handful of spinach at the end if you’d like some greens.

What to serve with this sausage rigatoni

Leftovers and storage

  • Store any leftover sausage pasta in a covered container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Reheat over a low heat until warmed through.
  • If you plan on freezing this one, I recommend keeping the sauce separate from the pasta and boiling up fresh pasta when you’re ready. The texture of the sauce may change after freezing, though.
closeup of Italian sausage pasta

If you made this Italian sausage rigatoni recipe, talk to me in the comments below! I’d love if you left a star rating and review. You can also tag me on Instagram.

a bowl of Italian sausage rigatoni
4.92 from 35 votes

Easy Sausage Rigatoni

This easy sausage rigatoni recipe is made with everyday ingredients but tastes like it came from a restaurant. It has Italian sausage simmered in a rich, garlicky tomato sauce!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 8 ounces uncooked rigatoni
  • 16 ounces Italian sausage (spicy or mild) see note
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • Fresh basil, torn optional but recommended, to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, to taste


  • Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook the rigatoni al dente according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, sauté the sausage meat and onion over medium-high heat in a skillet until browned (about 8-10 minutes), stirring it occasionally.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Drain a bit of the fat from the pan (I just spoon it out). Don't worry about getting it all.
  • Add the canned tomatoes to the pan. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes (you may need to turn the heat down a bit if it starts bubbling too furiously).
  • Stir in the cream, basil (if using), and season the sauce with salt & pepper as needed. Cook for another minute or two and then toss with the drained pasta.


  • For the sausages, anything around the 16 ounce/1 pound ballpark is fine – it doesn’t need to be exact. Here in Canada I buy a 500g 5-pack of Johnsonville mild Italian sausages and take them out of the casings. I break the sausage meat up before adding it to the skillet, and I like to keep it somewhat chunky for this recipe. You can use bulk ground sausage meat if you prefer. 
  • To get the consistency of the sauce just right, I suggest using the style of tomatoes I recommend (diced and crushed). I’d also be cautious about subbing the cream for anything else (e.g. milk or half-and-half) because the acidity of the tomatoes is likely to curdle it.


Calories: 761kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 48g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 120mg, Sodium: 1114mg, Potassium: 948mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 767IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 124mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on October 17, 2019. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!

Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

The Salt & Lavender cookbook is here! Order Now

4.92 from 35 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Please leave a recipe rating!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Nanci says:

    4 stars
    I made this tonight and I totally forgot to add the cream!! I was so upset that I did that however it was still quite good. So if someone is lactose intolerant or trying to cut calories, it was still good. There is just the two of us so there is a lot left over. I’m going to reheat it and add the cream and see how it comes out. It is a keeper.

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you, Nanci!!

  2. Paul Scheele says:

    5 stars
    Excellent combo, easy and relatively quick to prepare.. used half and half successfully ( no curdling)

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great!! Thank you, Paul!