Italian Sausage Pasta
Make tonight Italian night with this amazing Italian Sausage Pasta! This meat sauce recipe is made with flavorful Italian sausage, a delicious homemade marinara, and is super easy. Make it for the family tonight or meal prep it for the week!
Who else loves Italian food? My family definitely does! There are so many wonderful Italian recipes on Kim’s Cravings. Just to name a few of our favorite dishes; Easy Healthy Lasagna, Lasagna Soup, and this incredible Italian Sausage Pasta!
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!
Best Pasta with Sausage!
By a show of hands, how many of you make your spaghetti this way: brown some ground beef, dump in a jar of pasta sauce, and pile it on top of noodles? Don’t feel bad, I do too! It’s quick, easy, and only takes 3 ingredients.
But sometimes I crave something more irresistibly delicious!
I want the perfect balance between chunky tomatoes and thick, smooth sauce. And big bites of flavorful, savory meat. I want a blend of spices so good, you think you’re in a fancy restaurant in Italy.
This recipe, my friends, is just that! My Italian Sausage Pasta meal 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. The ground beef is replaced with tasty Italian sausage, and red wine (or sub with tomato juice) with just a hint of brown sugar and red pepper flakes makes the sauce absolutely drool-worthy!
This sausage pasta recipe has such wonderful flavor thanks to the combination of Italian sausage, sautéed onions + garlic, tomatoes, herbs and red wine. 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 Pasta Recipe
This meat sauce recipe is very simple and straightforward. You only need one pot and just about 10 minutes hands-on time.
- Cook Italian sausage. In a large pot, 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 the pasta. When you’re ready to eat and the meat sauce is about done cooking, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- 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.
Tips For Making Meat Sauce
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).
Spaghetti & Meat Sauce Variations
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 fridge 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 You’ll Love:
Looking for other Italian food recipes? Give these family favs a try:
If you try this Italian sausage 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. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! 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.
Did you make this recipe?
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I have made this 4 times and love it! We live on an island with rural farms, and I get hot Italian sausage from a local pork producer. This time I left it a little chunky rather than crumbling – yum! I leave out the tomato paste and the red wine as we don’t like the taste of either. My husband’s Italian and pasta picky – this sure passed the test. Thank you!
That’s so awesome! Thanks so much for your feedback!
It’s great and easy. I used sweet italian sausage and reduced the brown sugar. Very good sauce that goes with any kind of pasta. Thank you
Thanks so much for your feedback! So happy you enjoyed!
This is delicious! I didn’t have red wine handy so I used tomato juice and also fire roasted tomatoes. Yum!!
Everyone at my house loved it. Our new favorite pasta recipe.
I’m so in love with this pasta! It couldn’t be easier to make, and everyone loved it — perfect for company or an easy weeknight meal!
I am so glad the sauce can be frozen! I think I am going to make a huge batch this weekend to freeze for the busy month ahead. Thanks for the recipe!!
Spaghetti is always a great go-to dinner. This sauce looks perfect and never need store bought again! YUM!
That sausage meat sauce looks delicious! So delicious I might need a few taste tests before I put it on the spaghetti! 🙂
So happy this makes a ton of sauce because we can’t wait to have it again!
Well, how simple and easy is that? I’m amazed and can’t wait to try this sauce.
Now this is my kind of pasta!
I love the flavor that Italian sausage adds to this dish! My family couldn’t get enough and are already asking me to make it again next week.