A flavorful pasta dish with a rich tomato sauce made with good quality Italian sausage. This recipe is the perfect Italian style Sunday dinner (or lunch), but it’s so easy to make that it’s perfect also as a weeknight meal. A few quality ingredients can make a perfect meal.
It’s no secret that sausages work great in a tomato sauce. That’s why it is one of my favorite pizza toppings. In Tuscany, we also have a traditional main course of sausages stewed in a tomato sauce with beans. It sounds like an English thing, but it’s totally Italian! It’s called “Fagioli all’Uccelletto” and it’s so good!
In Tuscany, we love our sausages and like everything else, they’re unique and different from the sausages made throughout Italy. Since moving to the Netherlands, I miss cooking with our coarse-cut with black pepper sausages. In Tuscany, we use A LOT of black pepper. But even here sometimes we can find nice Italian style sausages, which are different from the Tuscan ones but still nice.
What is Italian Sausage?
You would think that the term “Italian Sausage” would identify a specific product which is always the same. But it’s not. It doesn’t exist a unique “Italian Sausage”, as in Italy, each region has its own different way of making sausages. As mentioned above, in Tuscany we make it with coarse-cut meat and we use a lot of black pepper. This type of sausage is not easily found outside of Tuscany, let alone Italy.
The most common sausages exported around the world, are mostly the Southern style. Maybe because the majority of Italian immigrants around the world are from the South of Italy. They often have fennel seeds, sweet paprika, or spicy chili pepper. Sometimes even a mix of herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage.
For this recipe, you can use whichever Italian sausage you prefer or have available in stores near you. I used a fennel sausage in this case, which gives a nice aroma to the tomato sauce, similar to my Pork Chop with Fennel sauce recipe.
How to make Sausage Pasta
This recipe is super easy and you don’t need a ton of ingredients, as long as you use good quality ones. Good quality meat, good quality tomatoes, and good quality pasta. That’s the basics!
The sauce can be made all in one skillet or non-stick pan and then you can add the boiled pasta directly to the sauce. I do not recommend cooking the pasta directly in the sauce (even though it’s possible), because it takes too long and you need to stir often to make sure it doesn’t stick. So even though you use one less pan, it takes more work to do it.
How to cook the Sausage
The most important step of making this sauce is cooking the sausage properly. Nobody likes a bite of sausage bigger than the pasta, so it’s important that you break the sausage correctly when you cook it.
First, you need to remove the sausage from the casing, then instead of tossing it directly in the pan, break it already in pieces with your hands, this way it’ll be easier to break it further while it cooks. Turn on the heat so it starts browning and with a wooden spoon keep breaking it into pieces as small as possible. You can leave a few bigger chunks but most of it should be broken into small pieces.
The more it cooks, the easier it will be breaking it. If it’s browning too much, lower the heat or remove from the heat for a few minutes while you keep working on it.
If you like this recipe, try also these other similar ones:
- Lasagna with pumpkin and sausage
- “Penne alla boscaiola” with mushrooms and bacon
- Tuscan Beef Ragù sauce
Italian Sausage Pasta
- 6 oz Dried Pasta
- 2 Garlic cloves
- Olive Oil
- 2 Italian Sausages
- 2 tbsp Soffritto, see notes
- 1 can Tomato sauce
- 3-4 tbsp Milk or Cream
- Black Pepper
- Parmigiano cheese, optional
- In a skillet or a non-stick pan, drizzle some olive oil and add the peeled garlic cloves cut in halves and the sausages. Turn on the heat and break the sausages into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until it starts to brown.
- Add the Soffritto and the tomato sauce to the pan with 1/3 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and when the sauce it's almost done, toss the pasta and cook according to the package instructions.
- Add the milk or cream to the sauce and season to taste.
- Drain the pasta al dente and toss it in the skillet with the sauce.
- Serve with grated Parmigiano on top.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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