Pasta and ground Italian sausage are combined in a cheesy tomato sauce to create this Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta recipe! This easy pasta dinner is comfort food like you wouldn’t believe – your whole family will fall instantly in love with it.
When it comes to comfort food, Italian recipes are a pretty safe bet. I mean, pizza? Spaghetti and meatballs? Chicken parmesan? All of the above are classic comfort food recipes that will do your heart (and your stomach) good.
Today, I’m introducing you to yet another pasta-based comfort food dish. Up next on the menu is Italian Sausage Pasta – it’s kind of similar to my Creamy Beef Pasta (which you should definitely try if you haven’t yet!).
Besides the top-tier tastiness, the best part of this creamy pasta dish is that it is SO easy to throw together. If your weeknights are perennially busy, no worries! You now have yet another quick and easy pasta dinner to confront them with.
What’s it like? Well, to start, juicy ground Italian sausage and onion are mixed in a beef broth and tomato sauce combination. This creates a rich, stick-to-your-bones base for the pasta dinner, while the cavatappi pasta cooks on the side. Then, half and half and cheddar cheese are added into the sauce to make this dinner just that much more flavorful and delicious.
And if you whip up a batch of Garlic Knots? Perfection. Pure perfection.
What You’ll Need:
Clearly you’ll need Italian sausage and pasta to make this dinner happen, but what else is needed? A good question. Here’s a breakdown of all the creamy pasta essentials you’ll want to round up:
Olive Oil: For sautéing the onion and sausage. You can use whatever cooking oil you like (canola, for example, will also work).
Onion: I used a small yellow onion, diced (about a cup).
Sausage: I generally use a mild ground Italian sausage, but you can use hot Italian sausage if you prefer spicier dishes.
Garlic: Fresh cloves are best, minced.
Seasoning: Use a mix of dried basil, dried oregano, kosher salt, and crushed red pepper.
Flour: All-purpose flour works fine.
Tomato Sauce: I like to use a plainer version of tomato sauce so that the added seasoning can provide the flavors.
Beef Broth: You could also just use vegetable broth if you don’t have beef broth.
Pasta: I like to use Cavatappi pasta, but you can use whatever pasta you want (penne, shells, spaghetti, etc.)
Half and Half: To thicken and add creaminess to the sauce – for an even richer sauce, add heavy cream.
Cheese: Use grated – not shredded – white sharp cheddar cheese.
Optional: Garnish with parsley (fresh or dried) and Parmesan cheese.
How to Make Italian Sausage Pasta
How quick is Italian Sausage Pasta? It takes just 35 minutes to make. You can prepare it on pretty short notice – and I often do. But hey, school nights get crazy, and sometimes you gotta adjust and make a quick dinner that you know everybody will want to eat.
So, here’s how you do that:
Sauté the Onions: In a large, deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add in the diced onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until they begin to soften.
Cook the Sausage: Add in the ground sausage to the skillet and break the meat apart. Cook until no pink remains. Drain excess grease and return the to heat.
Add Seasoning: With the heat still on medium, add in the garlic, basil, oregano, salt, red pepper, and flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to coat.
Pour in the Tomato Sauce and Broth: Add in the tomato sauce and broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Cook the Pasta: While sauce is simmering, boil the Cavatappi pasta according to pasta directions. Drain.
Finish Up the Sauce: Add the half and half and pasta to the sauce, stirring to combine. Add in the grated cheese and stir until melted.
Add Garnishes: Garnish with parsley and grated Parmesan if desired and serve immediately.
Tips for Success
See what I mean about quick and easy? It may look like a long list of ingredients, but it all comes together pretty fast in the end.
Before you begin, I’ve got a couple more tips to make this Italian sausage pasta even easier:
Don’t Overcook the Meat: Once the meat isn’t pink anymore, be sure to drain the grease and move onto the next step. If you’re nervous about the meat being underdone, remember that it will keep cooking as you make the sauce and add in the pasta.
How to Cook the Pasta: Cook the pasta al dente (or as the box specifies) – it should be tender, but still a little bit chewy, too.
To Make it Spicier: You can make the dish with hot Italian sausage, as mentioned above, or you can add in red pepper flakes to the sauce.
I wouldn’t share a recipe with you if I didn’t think it was great, but I’m also the first to admit that you might be able to make it better! Needless to say, another great quality of this Italian sausage pasta is that you can make endless substitutions to it. Here are a few changes you could make, just to get the ideas rolling:
Sausage Substitutions: You can use any kind of ground sausage that you like – it doesn’t have to be Italian, if that’s not your thing. Or a veggie sausage would work! Impossible or Beyond brands both make great dupes!
Switch Up the Veggies: The add-ins are endless when it comes to this sausage pasta recipe. You can throw in mushrooms, diced tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, etc. Make the meal your own!
Add in More Meat: You don’t have to work too hard to convince me to put bacon in something – I’m more than happy to! Chorizo could be good too, though…
More Cheese: There’s already parmesan and cheddar mixed into this pasta dinner, but a little shredded mozzarella would taste amazing as well.
What To Serve With Italian Sausage Pasta…
Italian sausage pasta is pretty filling, but there are a lot of delicious side dishes that you can serve with it! Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Garlic Knots: These go with ANY Italian-style meal that you can think of. They’re great for soaking up all that extra sauce from your plate!
Salad or Veggies: A nice light green salad is an easy side to whip together for this dinner, but roasted asparagus and steamed broccoli are pretty simple, too.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Store any leftover sausage pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, add the leftovers to a pot or deep skillet over low heat on the stove. Add a little beef broth to thin out the sauce, and cook until the meal is warmed through.
Pasta and ground Italian sausage are combined in a cheesy tomato sauce to create this Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta recipe! This easy pasta dinner is comfort food like you wouldn’t believe – your whole family will fall instantly in love with it!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced (about a cup)
2 pounds ground Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 (28- ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 pound Cavatappi pasta
1 cup half and half
2 cups grated white sharp cheddar cheese
optional – garnish with parsley (fresh or dried) and Parmesan cheese
In a large, deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add in the diced onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add in the ground sausage to the skillet and break the meat apart. Cook until no pink remains. Drain excess grease and return the to heat.
With the heat still on medium, add in the garlic, basil, oregano, salt, red pepper, and flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to coat.
Add in the tomato sauce and broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
While sauce is simmering, boil the Cavatappi pasta according to pasta directions. Drain.
Add the half and half and pasta to the sauce, stirring to combine. Add in the grated cheese and stir until melted.
Garnish with parsley and grated Parmesan if desired and serve immediately.
Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Keywords:: sausage pasta recipes, italian sausage pasta, sausage pasta
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More Pasta Dinner Ideas
Looking for more easy pasta dinner recipes? I’ve got a couple for you to try!