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.
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 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!)
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.
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!
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!
This Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers Pasta recipe is simple, flavorful, satisfying, & QUICK! 10 simple ingredients + the best weeknight or date night dinner.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve immediately, topped with extra grated parm, crushed red pepper & a sprinkling of thinly sliced basil, as desired. Enjoy!
- 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!