Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta Recipe

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This Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta recipe is about to be your new fave! Spicy Italian sausage & sweet bell peppers simmer away in a simple, but richly flavored, tomato sauce made of crushed tomatoes & white wine. It’s simple, flavorful, satisfying, & quick – all of the BEST things! A sausage peppers pasta easy enough for a quick 20-minute weeknight dinner, but also delicious enough for date night. So basically…it’s always a good night for pasta. RIGHT?!?

Italian Sausage & peppers pasta served in a white bowl sitting on a white marble surface surrounded by a striped linen napkin, fresh parsley leaves, & a small wooden bowl filled with crushed red pepper flakes.

Pin this Spicy Italian Sausage & Peppers Pasta recipe for later!!!

If you’ve followed along with pwwb for any amount of time, you probably know that pasta is my weeeeakness.

After working as a server in an Italian fine dining restaurant for a few years after college, I fell head over heels in love with all things Italian. The Italian approach of giving simple ingredients a little TLC to transform them into something extraordinary is so simple, but also so special. It’s my favorite way to approach cooking.

On busy weeknights, though? That’s a different story. There’s no time to lovingly tend to a batch of bolognese for hours & hours, as much as I’d love to do just that every night of the week.

& if I, ahem…someone who cooks for a living, don’t have time for it, I figure that you, my very lovely & very busy readers, definitely don’t.

So that’s exactly where this spicy sausage and peppers pasta recipe comes into the equation. A 30-minute pasta dinner that leans on 10 simple ingredients, that all just so happen to also be powerhouses of flavor, to create a comforting, hearty & downright dreeeamy weeknight dinner situation.

Close up shot of the sausage & peppers pasta.

This Italian sausage and peppers pasta is:

  • Simple: This is a 10-ingredient recipe, leaning heavily on a handful of things you probably already have in your pantry to build a quick & simple, but mega flavorful, homemade tomato sauce.
  • Flavorful: You’ll brown up the sausage & cook all the aromatics right in the same skillet you use to make the sauce. It’s the secret to building lots of rich flavor in very little time.
  • Satisfying: Spicy sausage, sweet bell peppers, a bold & rich tomato sauce, perfectly al dente pasta, & mayyybe a heavy sprinkle (or seven) or parm? Heck. YES.
  • & best of all…Quick: Dinner’s on the table in 30 minutes or less. Hello, weeknight dream!
Italian Sausage & peppers pasta served in a white bowl sitting on a striped linen napkin atop a white marble surface surrounded by fresh parsley leaves, & a small wooden bowl filled with crushed red pepper flakes.

Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta Ingredients:

The ingredients in this recipe are very minimal, & they’re likely already sitting in your pantry, patiently awaiting their spicy Italian sausage pasta destiny. Don’t you love when that happens? (Me too!)

Italian sausage and peppers pasta recipe ingredients (spicy sausage, dried rigatoni, white wine, diced bell peppers, parmesan cheese, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, diced onion, garlic & crushed chili flake) arranged on a white marble surface.

Here’s what you’ll need (Note: Full ingredients list & measurements are provided in the Recipe Card, below.):

  • Rigatoni: Pasta is, of course, a crucial aspect of sausage peppers pasta. I love using rigatoni. Its tubular shape is perfect for chunkier sauces. As always, use what you’ve got – any short pasta will be great.
  • Italian sausage: I love using spicy Italian sausage. Buy the sausage in bulk, or you can also buy links & simply remove the casing.
  • Veggies: Sausage and peppers over pasta obviously has peppers! Use your favorite type of bell pepper – the more colorful, the better. You’ll sauté it up with onion & garlic to add even more flavor to the tomato sauce.
  • Sauce: No need to grab a jar of pre-made sauce here! You’ll whip up the most flavorful simple sauce using crushed tomatoes, tomato paste (the secret to tons of rich flavor) & white wine.

How to Make Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta

I already mentioned that this recipe comes together quickly, & I wasn’t kidding. This sausage and peppers and pasta takes just 20 minutes to make from start to finish in a few simple steps.

Here’s how you do it! (Note: Full Recipe Directions are detailed in the Recipe Card, below.)

  • Boil the pasta. Always be sure to boil your pasta in heavily salted water. This is the only chance to season the pasta itself, so this is important. The pasta water should taste like the ocean!
  • Brown the sausage & veggies. First, brown the sausage with the peppers, onions & garlic. This step is so important since it builds the foundation of rich flavor in this sausage and peppers pasta recipe.
  • Make the tomato sauce. Once the sausage is browned & the veggies are super fragrant, add in some rich tomato paste, deglaze with white wine, & finish it off with crushed tomatoes and parmesan. Flavor, flavor, flavor!
  • Finish the pasta. Once the sausage and peppers sauce has bubbled & simmered, it’s time to add the pasta into the equation. Toss in the pasta, using some reserved pasta water as needed to loosen up the sauce so it clings to the rigatoni beautifully.
  • Serve! The best part. Top your Italian sausage and peppers pasta with extra grated parmesan, crushed red pepper, & a sprinkling of thinly sliced basil, or whatever else your pasta-lovin’ heart desires.
Italian sausage & peppers pasta in a large Staub skillet, topped with fresh parsley. The skillet is sitting on a white marble surface.

Meal prep this sausage peppers pasta in just 5 minutes!

This recipe comes together super quickly as-written, but I have an extra meal prep tip for you to help get dinner on the table even faster during the week.

If you have a few minutes to spare in the kitchen at the beginning of the week, go ahead & chop up the onion & bell pepper. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. When you’re ready to make your sausage and bell pepper pasta during the week, all you have to do is fire up the stove! Seriously couldn’t be easier.

Sausage and peppers pasta recipe variations:

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s a) super easy & b) super versatile. A couple of easy tweaks or swaps here & there & you can totally customize it to your tastes. I have couple of ideas off the top of my head listed below, but definitely get creative & have fun with it!

  • Not a fan of spicy? Swap out spicy sausage with sweet Italian sausage & omit chili flake.
  • Make it creamy: Pour some heavy cream into the tomato sauce as it simmers to give the pasta a gorgeous velvety texture.
  • Using chicken or turkey sausage: Not my favorite option! The goal with this recipe is to build lots of rich flavor in a short amount of time, & the fat content of traditional pork Italian sausage is crucial. If you want to swap it out with chicken or turkey Italian sausage, be sure to add more olive oil to account for the extra fat in the pork sausage.
  • Want to make it vegetarian? Swap out the sausage with tons of finely chopped mushrooms. Again, you’ll want to add in some extra olive oil & seasonings (your go-to Italian herb blend is great) to account for the fat & flavor in the sausage. Totally satisfying & hearty option!
  • Use what you’ve got: This pasta dish is the perfect clean-out-your-fridge type of meal because you can throw in any extra veggies you might have in your fridge. My favorite addition would be some wilted greens (spinach, arugula), shredded kale, broccoli florets, or mushrooms. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for some tips & tricks!
Italian Sausage & peppers pasta served in a white bowl sitting on a white marble surface surrounded by a striped linen napkin & fresh parsley leaves. There are 2 more bowls of sausage peppers pasta peeking into the top & bottom of the frame.

I hope you give this Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta recipe a try very soon – I know you’ll absolutely LOVE it! If you make it, be sure to snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. One of my favorite things is seeing your pwwb creations!

Italian Sausage and peppers pasta served in a white bowl sitting on a white marble surface surrounded by a striped linen napkin, fresh parsley leaves, & a small wooden bowl filled with crushed red pepper flakes. A woman's hands are reaching into the frame with a fork, ready to dig into the sausage peppers pasta.
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Italian Sausage & peppers pasta served in a white bowl sitting on a white marble surface surrounded by a striped linen napkin, fresh parsley leaves, & a small wooden bowl filled with crushed red pepper flakes.

Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta Recipe

  • Author: jess larson | plays well with butter
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: mains, pasta
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta recipe is simple, flavorful, satisfying, & QUICK! 10 simple ingredients + the best weeknight or date night dinner.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces rigatoni (or short pasta of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk spicy Italian sausage (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 bell pepper (yellow, orange or red), diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine (can sub chicken broth or vegetable broth)
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Kosher salt
  • for serving, as desired: grated parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes, thinly sliced fresh basil, etc.

Instructions

  1. Boil the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni, or pasta of choice, and cook to al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta & set aside. 
  2. Brown the sausage & sauté the pepper & onion: Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the sausage, bell pepper & onion, seasoning with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Use a wooden spoon to break the sausage into fine bite-sized crumbles as it cooks. The sausage should render & brown nicely & the peppers & onions should soften. If anything starts to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low. Add in the garlic & crushed red pepper flake, cooking until just fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Build the tomato sauce: Stir the tomato paste into the skillet. As it heats, stir to coat the sausage & veggies. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until deeply red, then deglaze the skillet with the white wine. Increase the heat to medium-high. Once the wine simmers, add in the crused tomatoes & parmesan. Stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes to thicken slightly & build flavor. 
  4. Finish the pasta: Once the sausage & peppers have simmered in the sauce, add the pasta to the skillet. Toss to coat, adding some of the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen up the sauce so it coats the pasta nicely. Let the pasta simmer in the sauce for 1-2 minutes, just to bring everything together, then remove from the heat.  
  5. Serve immediately, topped with extra grated parm, crushed red pepper & a sprinkling of thinly sliced basil, as desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Not a fan of spicy? No worries! Simply swap out spicy sausage with sweet Italian sausage & omit chili flake, & the pasta will be nice & mild.
  • Make it vegetarian: Simply swap out the sausage with tons of finely chopped mushrooms. You’ll want to add in some extra olive oil & seasonings (your go-to Italian herb blend is great) to account for the fat & flavor in the sausage. Totally satisfying & hearty option!
  • 5-Minute Meal Prep: At the beginning of the week, or whenever you have an extra couple of minutes in the kitchen, chop up the onion & bell pepper & store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. At dinnertime, all you have to do is light the stove & toss them in the skillet with the sausage – easy peasy!

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Thank you so much for reading & supporting Plays Well With Butter. This post includes affiliate links for products I truly love & use on the reg in my own home. All opinions are always my own! Should you make a purchase using one of these links, PWWB will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps me continue to bring you great original & free content.

Don’t forget to pin this Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta Recipe for later!!!

Spicy Italian Sausage & Peppers pasta with graphic text overlay for Pinterest

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 3.31.21
    Megan said:

    This was so good!! It was spicy, but in the best way. I don’t really like sausage all that much and still thought this was fantastic. My husband raved about it all night, too!

  2. 3.29.21
    lauren Hobson said:

    Finally made this pasta. It’s easy and so tasty. Will make again.

  3. 3.22.21
    Whitney Heber said:

    Y’all. Make this. It is such a hearty and flavor-packed meal. Peppers and onions add the necessary sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. I made with Italian turkey sausage because I don’t eat red meat. To compensate I added mushroom powder (ups the umami) and a pat of butter for the missing fat. With the pasta water this sauce clung to the pasta beautifully. Best of all, this came together in a snap while tasting like it simmered for hours. Def in the rotation now.

  4. 3.11.21
    Rachel Colvin said:

    This is spicayyyy hayyy. 💃🏼 The boyfriend walked in the house and said “I don’t know what that is, but it smells incredible”. 5 stars. Throwing this one in the regular rotation.

  5. 3.10.21
    Elizabeth said:

    Great weeknight meal! This had tons of flavor and was easy to put together after work.

  6. 3.9.21
    Kylie said:

    So delicious and easy! Also a plus that my husband loves it too!!

    • 3.10.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Kylie! So glad to hear this pasta was a hit! Thank you for sharing!!

  7. 3.9.21
    Ann Chang said:

    We inhaled this pasta tonight. As usual, your recipe exceeded our expectations. Thank you so much for this easy weeknight recipe.

  8. 3.8.21
    Jaclyn h said:

    I love this recipe because it’s so simple. Added bonus, my husband loves it too. So much that he’ll make it on his own!

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      🙌 we love to hear it, Jaclyn!! So glad to hear it is enjoyed by all!!

  9. 3.8.21
    Ashley said:

    My family must not like our pasta saucy because we use a pound of pasta and think it’s the perfect amount! This is one of our go-to recipes. Easy, kid-friendly, delicious – checks all the major boxes. Like all PWWB recipes, this one is a winner!

  10. 3.7.21
    Natasha said:

    So yummy and so easy to make! You can even meal prep the day before so there is even less to do the night of!

    • 3.8.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Natasha!! Yes, we also LOVE that this recipe is totally meal-prep friendly!! So glad you enjoyed – thank you for sharing!

  11. 3.6.21
    Jenny said:

    Absolutely delicious!! Added diced mushrooms to increase the veggies. Easy and so much flavor, thanks Jess!

  12. 3.5.21
    Courtney Pilling said:

    This came together beautifully! My family loved it and my 9 year old son said he’d give it 6 stars out of 5. It has the right level of spice to appeal to many people. It was also super gratifying to make a flavorful tomato sauce that easily.

    • 3.8.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Courtney! We are so grateful for your review (& your son’s 6 out of 5 stars!!) Nothing beats a quick & easy homemade pasta – so glad you enjoyed!

  13. 3.4.21
    Lindsey said:

    I doubled this recipe and so glad I did! I left out the spice because I have toddlers and it was a hit! The leftovers are just as good which is so important with 3 young kids, one being a newborn. I need quick, healthy meals I can eat for a few days! The peppers add such a unique and delicious taste to the sauce, I will definitely add this to our meal rotation!

    • 3.5.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Lindsey! So so glad that you could tailor this recipe for the whole family to enjoy & make a double batch – the leftovers are amazing!!

  14. 1.17.21
    Terry said:

    This is A- mazing! I have made this a handful of times and each time is better!!

    • 1.27.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Terry! So glad you love it, it’s definitely a recipe you can come back to time & time again!

  15. 12.8.20
    Rebecca said:

    Boyfriend loved it so much, he ate two bowls. I didn’t have a yellow bell pepper so I left it out. Very easy and tasty.

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hey Rebecca! This is definitely a two bowl kind of pasta, we don’t blame your boyfriend one bit! So glad to hear that you both enjoyed!!

  16. 11.3.20
    Ellen said:

    I made this last night, and it was the perfect easy Monday meal! Neither my fiance nor I could get over how amazing it tasted despite the quick cook time. It’s perfect, and totally getting added to our regular rotation!

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Ellen! We love that it is so quick too – such a great homemade “back-pocket” type meal & we are SO glad you enjoyed!

  17. 10.29.20
    Theresa said:

    If I could give this recipe more stars ⭐️ I would. I generally don’t even like red sauce but this recipe changed that. Easy delicious, filling. Perfect balance of spicy,saucy comfort in a bowl.

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thank you, Theresa! That means SO much – we are so glad you loved it!

  18. 10.27.20
    Sherry said:

    Hi! Spicy Italian Sausage & Peppers was a hit in my home. We have one non pork eater so I did substitute with spicy Italian turkey sausage and use the tip above to add a little more olive oil. The flavor is amazing and it came together in a short amount of time. I have shared this recipe with 4 of my friends and I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!!

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Sherry! Such a smart substitution, so glad you made it work for your family & thank you so much for sharing with others – it means the world!!

  19. 4.30.20
    Lorri said:

    I’m always on the hunt for an easy pasta recipe that tastes as good as what I get in my favorite local Italian restaurant. Well, this recipe was BETTER. And it heats up really well for leftovers too–it’s just as good the 2nd and 3rd time around. It has a surprisingly wonderful depth of flavor for such a short amount of time. I made two modifications to the recipe. Because my wife can’t have things too spicy, I did 1/2 of the sausage spicy and 1/2 mild. The second modification was sort of a mistake. I had bought a box of rigatoni that I thought was 12 ounces. Your recipe called for 8. I decided to put in the whole box, and only when I was throwing away the box did I realize it was 16 ounces! But, the onion and pepper I had used were large and this worked. We had plenty of sauce and got two more meals out of it. This will be a new “go to” in our household.

    • 2.5.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Lorri, thanks so much for your kind words!! Glad this can be a new go-to recipe 🙂 & that you could tailor the spiciness!

  20. 3.6.20

    This was off-the-hook delicious. Entire family was in love with it. Have slotted it into my recipe schedule, so good!

  21. 12.9.19
    Caitlin said:

    I made this last night for a cozy dinner-and-a-movie night at home. My husband and I LOVED it – incredibly flavorful with a hint of heat – it reminded us of one of our favorite pizza topping combos (spicy sausage and roasted peppers) in pasta form. Thank you for the recipe!

    • 12.20.19
      jess said:

      This totally makes my day, Caitlin. One of our favorite recipes too. So glad you & your hubby loved it!!!

  22. 11.12.19
    Alexis said:

    This was so good and took almost no time to make. Definitely putting it in my rotating week night recipes.

  23. 10.29.19
    Ashley said:

    This was delicious, thank you for the recipe!

    • 10.29.19
      jess said:

      I’m so excited you loved it! Thanks for sharing, Ashley!