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Italian Sausage Pasta

close up overhead shot of a skillet full of pasta
This easy Italian sausage pasta is a classic pasta dish that is loaded with plenty of amazing flavors and is a quick dinner idea when time is short.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 1060 kcal


  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta, half of a 1-pound box
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes in oil and herbs
  • cups heavy cream
  • 2 to 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste (optional)


  • Cook rigatoni in a large pot of salted water to desired tenderness. Reserve about 1 cup of the water to make the sauce and drain the remaining water from the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, begin browning sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. When sausage is about halfway cooked (some pink, some brown sausage), add the diced onion and continue cooking until the sausage is cooked and the onion is soft.
  • Add butter, garlic, Italian seasoning, and sundried tomatoes to the skillet and cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  • Add the cream and reserved pasta water to the sausage mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Stir the spinach into the sauce (it will wilt quickly and does not need to be cooked further), followed by the pasta.
  • Simmer 1 to 2 minutes longer to thicken the sauce as needed.


  • A standard box of rigatoni is 1 pound, and we use just half of a box in this recipe. If you’d like to use an entire box of rigatoni, you could use the same amount of sausage and onions but double the remaining ingredients (to make enough sauce). You will need to use a much larger skillet or stockpot.
  • The pasta water helps to thin out the sauce. Using heavy cream makes a nice rich, creamy sauce, even with the addition of the pasta water (the pasta water also holds some starches from the cooked pasta, so it helps to thicken the sauce). You can substitute chicken broth for the pasta water for a little extra flavor. You can also use half and half or milk instead of the heavy cream. If you use half and half or milk, increase the quantity, and you may not need the pasta water.
  • If you’d like to add up to 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese to the sauce, you can do so when you’ve added the cream and reserved pasta water to the skillet, adding a handful at a time and stirring until it is melted and incorporated into the sauce.
  • The sauce thickens substantially as it sits and cools, and the pasta absorbs the liquids. To reheat, add some milk or cream to the pasta and reheat on the stovetop.
This recipe is derived from: The Girl Inspired.   


Calories: 1060kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 28gFat: 81gSaturated Fat: 41gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 239mgSodium: 1014mgPotassium: 1068mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 3198IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 134mgIron: 4mg