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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


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.


  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!


  • 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!