This comforting spicy sausage pasta recipe is super easy and ready in under 30 minutes! This spicy pasta with sausage meal is great for batch cooking and makes a great weeknight dinner. Turn it into a Saturday night treat by serving it with a slice of homemade garlic bread - your guests will love it!
Why To Try This Spicy Sausage Pasta
There are several reasons why to give this pasta with spicy italian sausage a go!
Firstly, the recipe is super easy, which means practically everyone can do it.
Secondly, the sweet and spicy tomato sauce is very scrumptious. You can reduce or add to the heat as you like! Skip the chilies completely if cooking for kids.
It takes less than 30 minutes to make, and cooking the pasta and sauce simultaneously saves you valuable time.
This family pasta meal is also very versatile, you can play around with the ingredients according to what you have in your pantry.
Finally, this recipe is perfect for batch cooking and freezing.
Are you looking for more easy and quick pasta recipes? Try this tuna pesto pasta, meatballs in tomato sauce, sundried tomato pasta salad, or pasta with creamed spinach and salmon. If you love tomatoes, then this delicious tomato soup recipe is just waiting for you.
Key Ingredients For Spicy Sausage Pasta
Another amazing thing about this recipe is that it contains common ingredients that can be found in most fridges or store cupboards. You may notice that this recipe is similar to puttanesca sauce, just without the olives and anchovies, but with added sausage meat.
To prepare the dish, you will need:
- Dried short pasta such as penne, fusilli, farfalle, or similar. Use plain or wholemeal pasta according to your preference, both types of pasta will work here.
- Reduced-fat pork sausages are a great source of protein. Use classic unsmoked sausages, chipolatas, or Italian sweet or spicy sausage (Nduja). Choose ones of a higher quality if you can. Fry them on a thin layer of rapeseed oil.
- A brown onion is the base of this delicious homemade pasta sauce. It will add sweetness, flavor, and a little bit of texture to the dish.
- Tomato puree and canned plum (whole) tomatoes are fantastic pantry staples that help this sauce to come out the same every time. Tomatoes are rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, help support our immune system and thanks to antioxidants may help prevent some illnesses including cancer.
Seasonings To Add Flavor
- Basil provides an extra boost of flavor and nutrients like vitamins A and K, calcium, beta carotene, or lutein. This recipe is suitable for dry, fresh, or frozen basil leaves.
- Garlic is another superfood in this recipe. Add it toward the end of the cooking process to make the most of its health benefits which include boosting the immune system, reducing blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol, amongst other benefits.
- Capers will add a bit of tangy flavor to the sauce. These delicious flower buds are usually sold in a jar. Give them a rinse before adding them to the sauce. No need to chop them.
- Chili flakes (or fresh chilies), smoked paprika and black pepper are the spices that give this meal a boost of heat. Add as much or as little of the chilies as needed. If cooking for children leave out the spices completely and add sweet paprika instead.
Optional Ingredients (For Serving)
- Fresh mozzarella cheese - divide a ball into small chunks, and add them to the meal just before serving.
- Fresh lemon juice will give this tomato pasta sauce a third dimension. It will also help neutralize the garlicky smell.
- Fresh parsley adds a burst of green color and provides nutrients and minerals. Chop it finely and add it just before serving.
Substitutes & Variations
As I mentioned before, this recipe is really fun to cook as you can be fairly flexible in terms of ingredients. Here are some suggestions on swaps:
- Not a fan of pork? No worries, feel free to use other fresh sausages or sausage alternatives. Chicken, turkey, beef, or vegan and vegetarian sausages will work here too.
- Likewise, you can use smoked sausages for extra smokey taste - smoked kielbasa, bratwurst, chorizo or Andouille are just a few of many sausages that will work in this recipe. Sliced them before frying and cook them for about half the time.
- Use gnocchi instead of pasta, the meal will be just as delicious!
- Add olives to replace capers - green, Kalamata (Greek) or black olives will work in this recipe.
- Swap Italian mozzarella for parmesan, or Grana Padano, for an extra nutty flavor.
- Use a variety of herbs - oregano, thyme, and rosemary, they all pair well with tomato sauce.
- Make it mild - use sweet paprika instead of smoked paprika, and omit the chilies completely.
Exact measurements and ratios for ingredients and their swaps are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
This simple pasta with meaty tomato sauce is ready in six steps:
- Cook the pasta, use some of the cooking water in step 4.
- Fry the sausage meat chunks, with added spices. Set aside when cooked.
- Fry an onion in the same pan. Add tomato puree when soft.
- Add plum (whole) tomatoes, basil, and some starchy water from the pasta. Cook through.
- Add garlic and capers. Add the cooked sausage chunks, cooked pasta and let it all warm through.
- Serve with fresh mozzarella, chopped parsley, lemon juice, and black pepper.
All steps are described in detail in the recipe card. For troubleshooting, see Top Tips sections below.
- To make the most of the spices, add the chilies or chili flakes and smoked paprika at the start when cooking the sausage meat.
- Does the tomato sauce taste too sweet? Add a splash of vinegar or more lemon juice.
- Does it taste too acidic (sour)? Add a spoonful of sugar.
- Use fresh, frozen or dried herbs. If using dry herbs, add them when adding the whole tomatoes, so that they have enough time to cook. When using fresh and frozen herbs, add them more toward the end of cooking the sauce (when adding garlic).
- Making this meal ahead? Undercook the pasta slightly, by 1 or 2 minutes. This will help it stop from going too soft and also helps it from sticking together.
Storage & Reheating
This pasta with spicy sausage is great for batch cooking and making in advance.
Once cooked, leave it to cool down to a room temperature and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
It will keep for up to 3 months in an airtight food container or a plastic bag in the freezer. You can freeze the pasta and sauce mixed together, or you can freeze the two separately.
You can reheat this pasta straight from the fridge in a microwave, portion by portion - just move it to a microwavable plate or a bowl. The settings and timings will depend on the power of your microwave oven, but generally speaking, it should take about 4-7 minutes per serving.
Alternatively, you can reheat it in all at once in an oven-proof dish, in a pre-heated oven to 180C/355F for 25-30 minutes. Cover it with an aluminium foil if you think the dish starts to look burnt on top. This method is great for reheating from the freezer too, just add 5-10 minutes to the total reheating time.
You can make this pasta meal by frying sausage meat in a pan, then cooking onions in any leftover fat, adding tomato puree, tomatoes, and seasonings. Mix it with cooked pasta and serve with fresh Mozzarella cheese and herbs. For detailed instructions and ingredient list, visit the recipe card below.
Spicy sausages such as Nduja (Italian spreadable sausage), chorizo, or Andouille are normally available in large supermarkets and European stores. Look for the world foods aisle or the chilled section.
This meal can be relatively high in calories, with around 800-1000kcal per serving. However, you can bring the calories down by using wholemeal pasta, low-fat sausages and low-fat cheese. Alternatively, you can skip adding the cheese altogether for a lighter meal.
📖 The Recipe
Spicy Sausage Pasta
- 360 g dried short pasta penne, fussilli, farfalle or similar
- 3 tablespoon rapeseed oil
- 6 low-fat pork sausages
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes to taste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree
- 400 g can plum (whole) tomatoes
- 2 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon capers drained and rinsed
For serving (Optional)
- 1 block Italian mozzarella cheese
- 1 lemon juice only
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 1-2 red or green chili or more chili flakes
- black pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet. Save some of the starchy water for step no. 4. Prepare the sauce in the meantime.
- Add rapeseed oil to a large frying pan and set on medium-high heat. Cut the sausages into small chunks and add them to the pan. Season with chili flakes and smoked paprika. Fry until brown and fully cooked, turning occasionally. Once cooked through (after 7-10 minutes), set the sausage meat aside.
- Using the same frying pan, add a bit of oil if it looks dry. Lower the heat to medium. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and glossy (3-4 minutes). Add tomato puree and stir. Fry for 1 minute.
- Add plum tomatoes from a tin, season the sauce with basil. Add 150ml pasta cooking water. Cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add minced garlic, capers, and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked sausage chunks, and cooked pasta, toss and cook for 1 more minute.
- Toss well and serve with chunks of fresh mozzarella, fresh chopped parsley, squeeze of lemon, fresh or dried chilies and black pepper. Enjoy on its own or with a slice of homemade garlic bread.
- Fresh sausages or sausage alternatives (chicken, turkey, beef, or vegan and vegetarian sausages), smoked sausages (kielbasa, bratwurst, chorizo, Andouille etc),
- Use gnocchi instead of pasta (125g uncooked gnocchi per serving),
- Replace capers with olives (Kalamata [Greek], green or black olives),
- Parmesan, or Grana Padano,
- Herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary) - dried, fresh or frozen.
Use sweet paprika instead of smoked paprika, do not add chilies.
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