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This spicy Italian sausage pasta recipe is fast, easy, and uses minimal ingredients. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner that tastes like it came from a restaurant!
Why you’ll love it
Italian sausage and pasta is a magical combo. This pasta recipe is ideal for those sausage and carb lovers out there (like me), naturally. Spicy Italian sausage, tomatoes, garlic, cream, lots of parmesan cheese, and a touch of fresh basil make this recipe a winner.
The sauce is creamy, but not too creamy if you know what I mean. It’s tomato-y first and foremost. I am not a huge spice person, and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. It has just enough zing, in my opinion. And it’s ready in just 30 minutes!
What you’ll need
- Pasta – penne goes really well with this spicy Italian sausage pasta recipe. The little tubes are perfect for that sauce.
- Sausage – I chose Johnsonville hot Italian sausages
- Garlic – for added savory flavor
- Chicken broth – the base of the sauce, or use a dry white wine for a fancy touch
- Flour – to thicken the sauce
- Canned diced tomatoes – they’re convenient and canned at the peak of ripeness
- Heavy cream – it helps mellow some of that acidity from the tomatoes and spice from the sausage and make the sauce silky
- Basil – for a pop of freshness
How to make spicy Italian sausage pasta
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a skillet, then transfer to a plate. Drain most of the excess fat. Add the garlic and chicken broth to the pan, then the flour. Whisk until incorporated, and scrape up the browned bits.
Let it reduce for a couple of minutes. Add in the canned tomatoes and cream, and return the sausage meat. Cook until thickened, and season with salt & pepper. Right before serving, add the basil, then toss with the drained pasta. Top with parmesan if using.
Substitutions and variations
- I like penne for this one, but you’re welcome to use another shape if you wish.
- Want to make this pasta more spicy? Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or some red pepper flakes. On the flip side, if you don’t want it to be spicy, just use mild Italian sausages.
- I don’t recommend substituting the cream for something with less fat. The sauce may curdle, and it won’t taste as intended.
Leftovers and storage
- Store leftover sausage pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Reheat in a saucepan slowly over a low heat.
- You could freeze this one, but keep in mind the texture of the pasta may change.
Hope you’ll love this hot Italian sausage pasta recipe! Questions? Let me know in the comments below. Please leave a star rating and review! Find me on Instagram too.
Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked penne
- 11 ounces hot Italian sausages see note
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or white wine
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
- 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Small handful fresh basil sliced/torn into small pieces
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, take the sausage meat out of the casings and crumble it into a skillet. Cook it for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat until browned.
- Once the sausage is browned, take it out of the pan and transfer to a plate. If there's a lot of excess fat left in the skillet, drain most of it.
- To the skillet, add the garlic, followed by the chicken broth. Sprinkle the flour in. Whisk it until the flour has dissolved, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook this mixture until it's significantly reduced (should only take a minute or two in total).
- Add in the tomatoes, cream, and the sausage meat. Cook the sauce for a few more minutes until it's thickened to your liking. Season with salt & pepper as needed.
- Just prior to serving, add in the torn basil leaves and then toss with the drained pasta. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- I used 3 sausages from a 5-pack of Johnsonville hot Italian sausages. Anything in the 11 oz ballpark will work, or you can even use more sausage meat if you wish. You can use mild Italian sausages if you prefer.
- I don’t recommend substituting the heavy cream because the acidity in the tomatoes will likely curdle half-and-half or milk.
- If you don’t have any basil, feel free to leave it out, but I really like the fresh flavor it adds.
- I used my handy Microplane zester/grater to grate the parmesan.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
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.
This recipe was originally published on June 6, 2016. It’s been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!