Spicy Sausage Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal. It’s hearty and creamy and made with mostly pantry staples. You can have this flavor-packed dinner on the table in under 30 minutes!
This really is a super easy weeknight staple dinner. While it’s an easy meal relying on many pantry staples, this spicy sausage pasta does not compromise on flavor. It’s creamy and hearty and easily customizable for your preferences.
Looking for more 30-minute meals? Then you’ll love Sweet and Spicy Meatballs, One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon, and Adobo Chicken Wraps with Avocado Green Goddess Dressing.
Penne Noodles – I like to use penne for this recipe but any short rib pasta would be good. Try it with rigatoni, bowtie, or elbow-shaped pasta. Thick pappardelle noodles would also be great.
Hot Italian Sausage – can vary in spiciness so pick one that you like and adjust the heat in the sauce with the red pepper flakes.
Tomato Paste – adds savoriness to the sauce without watering it down.
Red Pepper Flakes – add a bit of heat to the sauce.
Half and Half – adds creaminess to the sauce.
Parmesan – adds flavor and nuttiness to the sauce. I prefer to freshly grate Parmigiano Reggiano but any parmesan will work.
Step By Step Instructions
Note: Full list of ingredients, their amounts, and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil.
Boil the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Sauté the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks, until cooked through and lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover.
Melt the butter in the pan. Sauté diced onion until soft and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
Pour in half and half, parmesan, and salt. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Add the cooked sausage and drained pasta and toss until everything is well coated. Top with extra parmesan and red pepper flakes. Serve warm and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- Use freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano for the best results.
- Half and half is equal parts whole milk and heavy cream. To make your own for this recipe, mix together 2/3 cup whole milk and 2/3 cup heavy cream.
- This recipe calls for 1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes but you can add more or less depending on your preferences.
Substitutions & Variations
- Use chicken or turkey sausage instead of pork.
- Add chopped spinach to the sausage while it’s sautéing for an easy way to add greens.
Storage & Reheating
Keep the pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
For best results, place the pasta and a splash of half and half or milk in a saucepan covered with a lid. Heat slowly over medium-low heat until warmed through.
To reheat in the microwave, place the pasta in a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of half and half or milk. Heat in 20-second bursts at 40% until warmed through.
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Spicy Sausage Pasta
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup yellow onion small dice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus more
- 1 1/4 cups half and half
- 1/2 cup parmesan preferably freshly shredded (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the sausage until cooked through and lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove to a plate, cover, and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the pan. Add the onion and sauté until softened and starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
- Add the half and half, parmesan, and salt, and stir until everything is well combined. Simmer gently for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Toss the drained pasta and sausage with the sauce until everything is well coated. Top with more parmesan and red pepper flakes (optional). Serve warm.
- I used freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. While any parmesan will work in this recipe, freshly grated will produce the best results.
- Half and half is simply equal parts whole milk and heavy cream. If you need to make your own for this recipe, I suggest 2/3 cup whole milk mixed with 2/3 cup of heavy cream.
- Store the pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.