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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!

I think you’ll also like my Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup, Easy Italian Sausage Tomato Pasta, or this One Pan Creamy Gnocchi with Sausage.

spicy Italian sausage penne pasta with a fork in a white bowl

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
ingredients for spicy italian sausage pasta in prep bowls

Tools for this recipe

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

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.

browning sausage meat in a skillet and whisking in garlic and flour and broth

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.

making the sauce for spicy italian sausage pasta in a skillet, and adding in penne and fresh basil

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.
Italian sausage penne close-up

What to serve with spicy sausage pasta

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.
closeup of a skillet with spicy italian sausage pasta

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.

Italian sausage penne close-up
4.91 from 127 votes

Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta

This spicy Italian sausage pasta is fast, easy, and uses minimal ingredients. It's the perfect weeknight dinner that tastes like it came from a restaurant!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 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.


Calories: 607kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 93mg, Sodium: 833mg, Potassium: 556mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 586IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 83mg, Iron: 3mg

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 June 6, 2016. It’s been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!

Hi! Iโ€™m Natasha.

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4.91 from 127 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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  1. Shauna says:

    4 stars
    This was pretty good!
    I added a little bit of red wine vinegar since it needed some acidity and some extra spices (onion powder, oregano, cayenne pepper) to give it a little more flavor.

    I think this is a fun recipe to be able to change up!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thanks, Shauna! Yes – definitely easy to tweak based on your preferences. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Greg L. says:

    5 stars

    1. Natasha says:

      Thanks, Greg! ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Heather says:

    5 stars
    Very good! I made it with white wine instead of the chicken broth. I also added the parmasean and mixed it in. Delicious with home made butter and homemade bread. Thanks for the recipe๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad it was a hit!! ๐Ÿ˜€ You are very welcome, Heather!

  4. Nancy says:

    3 stars
    I found the recipe as written somewhat plain & uninteresting . BUT itโ€™s the foundation for a fantastic meal. I added the cream (light half & half) before the tomatoes & no problem with separating. Included red peppers for a bit of texture , mushrooms & spinach. No salt except in the spicy sausage. Added oregano & basil. This is great for using up vegetables! Am a fan of spicy so I added ancho powder – great slow burn.

    1. Natasha says:

      Perhaps the fact you didn’t use heavy cream as recommended and didn’t add salt impacted the recipe, but I’m glad you were able to tweak it to your liking, Nancy.

  5. DeeDee says:

    5 stars
    I just made this, had it for lunch. Unbelievably good!!! I did add 1 coarse chopped onion, and 1# of ground sausage that needed to be used. Very easy, quick to prepare. Will be making this again FOR SURE!!!!! Thank you for this great recipe!!!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled it was a hit! ๐Ÿ˜€ You’re very welcome, DeeDee.

  6. Tom says:

    5 stars
    Made it exactly as written, which I hardly ever do. Well, ok I used more garlic. Awesome dish.

    1. Natasha says:

      Haha love that!! So glad it was a hit, Tom. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Tose says:

    This is so easy to make and itโ€™s delicious

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you so much!

  8. Valerie says:

    5 stars
    The whole family loves it – an Absolute favourite from the first try. Now I make it also with โ€œspekโ€ blocks (kinda of like small junks of bacon – I live in Belgium so Iโ€™m not sure what it is in English). Instead of spicy sausage I add the spices used in spicy sausage to the sauce – yum

    1. Natasha says:

      Yes – I think that is a great idea!!

  9. Meghan says:

    5 stars
    This was so tasty and easy! I sauteed some onions and spinach after the sausage and mixed it back in with the sausage at the end. Will make again!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you!! Glad you enjoyed it, Meghan!

  10. Joyce Ridilla says:

    5 stars
    I doubled the recipe. I used chorizo for almost half of the sausage

    1. Natasha says: