Italian Sausage Pasta
Make tonight Italian night with this amazing Italian Sausage Pasta! This meat sauce recipe comes together with flavorful Italian sausage, a delicious homemade marinara, and is super easy to make. Whip it up for family dinner tonight or meal prep it for the week!
Who else loves Italian food? My family definitely does! And Italian Sausage Pasta is one of our favorite meals! Some of our other go-to dishes are Easy Healthy Lasagna, Lasagna Soup, and Turkey Bolognese.
Spaghetti with a yummy meat sauce is one of the most requested meals in my house. If I had to guess, I’d say we probably have it once a week. There’s just something about meaty red sauce dripping off of long, twirly noodles that my family adores!
But, do you make your spaghetti by simply browning some ground beef, dumping in a jar of pasta sauce, and piling it on top of noodles? Don’t feel bad, we do too! It’s quick, easy, and only takes 3 ingredients. But sometimes we crave something more irresistibly delicious!
When you want the perfect balance between chunky tomatoes and thick, smooth sauce with big bites of flavorful, savory meat. And a blend of spices so good, you think you’re in a fancy restaurant in Italy. This recipe, my friends, is just that!
This Italian sausage pasta recipe is easy to put together, tastes WAY better than sauce out of a jar, and even though there are a lot of ingredients, most of them are already in your pantry. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Sausage. Feel free to use regular or Italian sausage. I personally love using Italian sausage because it has an amazing sweet, slightly spicy flavor. If you’re looking for a leaner option, Italian chicken or turkey sausage is a great alternative!
- Onion + garlic. Sautéed diced onion and garlic adds delicious aromatic flavor to the sauce.
- Diced tomatoes. We love using fire roasted tomatoes for extra flavor and a lovely smoky taste.
- Tomato sauce, tomato paste, water. This mixture is the base of the meat sauce.
- Flavorings. To season the sauce, we’re using dried basil and parsley along with salt & pepper, a small amount of brown sugar and red pepper flakes. If you prefer to omit the brown sugar, that’s fine.
- Red wine. I highly recommend adding just 1/4 cup to the sauce for added richness and robustness. However, if preferred use 1/4 cup tomato juice instead.
- Spaghetti noodles. I like using regular spaghetti noodles for this particular recipe, but feel free to use any pasta shape you’d like. Gluten-free noodles work, too.
How to make this recipe
This meat sauce recipe is very simple and straightforward. You only need one pot and just about 10 minutes hands-on time. Here’s the simple process:
- Cook Italian sausage. In a large pot or large skillet, begin browning Italian sausage over medium heat, making sure to break up the meat into small crumbles. Add the chopped onion and cook until it’s softened.
- Add other ingredients and simmer. Stir in the garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Bring the meat sauce to a low boil. Stir in red wine. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for at least an hour.
- Cook pasta. When you’re ready to eat and the meat sauce is about done cooking, boil the pasta according to package instructions and until al dente.
- Serve and enjoy. Plate drained spaghetti noodles (or other favorite pasta) and spoon meat sauce over the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley or fresh basil. Whip up a fresh Italian salad and garlic bread for a complete dinner!
Crockpot spaghetti sauce
Want this meat sauce to cook all day? This recipe can even be made into an easy crockpot spaghetti sauce! Just pre-cook the Italian sausage and drain off the fat before adding all the other ingredients (except wine) to the crockpot. Stir the wine into the sauce 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
This pasta dish is pretty simple and straightforward, but I do have a some tips, so you have the best results every time:
- Sausage. I typically use lean Jennie-O Italian Style Turkey Sausage for this recipe. It has plenty of flavor without a lot of grease. You can use meat with a higher fat content, just be sure to drain off any excess fat after it’s cooked.
- Cooking pasta. Don’t forget to season the water with plenty of salt before adding in the pasta; otherwise this dish may taste under-seasoned. As a general rule of thumb, I add 1 teaspoon salt per 4 cups of water.
- Half the recipe. This recipe makes a large amount of sauce. Feel free to cut the recipe in half, or consider freezing a portion of the sauce for another dinner (or two).
Frequently asked questions
This dish tastes incredible topped with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley or basil. We like to serve it with a fresh green salad, and some crusty garlic bread.
Italian sausage, as it’s referred to in the United States, is most often a pork sausage that is made with fennel seed or anise. It loaded with flavor, and can be seasoned with fresh or dry herbs. It’s the usual type of sausage that you’ll find in most pasta sauces, as a pizza topping, etc.
I typically make this meat sauce and pasta recipe exactly as it’s written. However, you can modify the recipe to suit your tastes and/or include ingredients that you may already have on-hand. Here’s some options:
- Meat. I highly recommend Italian sausage in this sauce for maximum flavor! You can use regular Italian sausage or sweet Italian sausage, whichever you prefer. They are both delicious! If you don’t like Italian sausage, you can use ground beef, ground turkey or turkey sausage.
- Vegetables. Add sautéed veggies to the sauce such as mushrooms, baby spinach, zucchini or bell peppers. Olives, sun dried tomatoes or artichoke hearts would also be fabulous additions.
- Pasta. Instead of spaghetti noodles, try another pasta variety. Anything goes – fettuccine, bucatini, farfalle, penne pasta, rigatoni or angel hair pasta.
- Make ahead. You can make the sauce up to 2 days in advance, then reheat the sauce in a pan or pot and cook the pasta, right before serving.
- Storage. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave, oven or in a pot on the stove. The pasta may have absorbed some of the liquid leaving it dried out. Feel free to add a bit of olive oil, broth or water before heating.
- Freezing. I would recommend freezing the sauce without the pasta. Once the sauce has thickened allow it to cool completely before pouring it in an airtight freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 4 months.
- Reheating. Thaw and heat on the stovetop over LOW heat stirring constantly. Add a small amount of chicken broth or water, as needed to revitalize the sauce. Cook noodles and serve.
This spaghetti and meat sauce recipe is easy to make and will delight your family and friends. Give this dish a try the next time you are in the mood for some good old-fashioned comfort food!
More delicious Italian recipes
Looking for other Italian meal recipes? Give these family favs a try:
If you try this easy pasta recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves them as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Italian Sausage Pasta
- 2 pounds ground Italian sausage, (mild or hot)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 3 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup red wine, (or 1/4 cup tomato juice)
- 1 pound spaghetti noodles, (or other preferred pasta)
- Optional Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley to garnish
- In a large, heavy stockpot, brown Italian sausage, breaking up as you stir. Add onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened.
- Stir in garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a low boil. Stir in red wine. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for at least an hour.
- Cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Spoon meat sauce over drained spaghetti noodles and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.