This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Creamy Italian sausage pasta is easy to make and super delicious. It's made with spicy or mild (your choice!) Italian sausage cooked in a creamy tomato sauce. You'll love it!
This easy dinner recipe is sure to become your family's favorite. The creamy tomato sauce has tons of flavor thanks to Italian sausages, a little white wine, and some tomato paste that gets sweet and caramelized when it's cooked.
And even though it's a real treat to eat, it's a super fast and easy pasta recipe. In just 25 minutes, you can sit at the table (or stand at the stovetop) and dig into this creamy Italian sausage pasta for dinner.
Pasta – we like to use short shapes such as penne pasta, fusilli, or rigatoni. Cook the pasta al dente for the best results.
Italian sausages – you can choose either mild or spicy Italian sausage, whichever you and your family like better.
Onion and garlic – flavor!
Tomato paste – The concentrated tomato flavor adds a lot to the pasta.
White wine – or sub chicken stock for an alcohol-free version.
Crushed tomatoes – you can also use diced tomatoes, if that's what you have on hand. Or blend a can of whole tomatoes.
Cream cheese – this is the special ingredient that makes the Italian sausage pasta incredibly creamy. You could use heavy cream, but cream cheese makes this pasta dish extra creamy.
Spinach – the little pop of color works great in this recipe. You could also use another green, like kale, but it would need to be cooked a little longer.
How to make Italian sausage pasta recipe
This is a wonderfully simple recipe that is perfect for a weeknight dinner. Here's how to make it:
- Start by cooking the Italian sausage, onion, and garlic.
- Then add tomato paste and white wine or stock to the pan.
- Now add the canned tomatoes and cream cheese and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked pasta and spinach to the pan, sprinkle a little fresh grated parmesan cheese on top, and dinner is ready
How to cook Italian sausage for pasta
We like to remove the casing (the wrapper) from the sausage then use a wooden spoon to break it apart as it cooks. When cooked this way you can easily control how big or small you want the pieces to be. Break them up a little and you'll have big chunks; break them up a lot and you'll have a texture similar to ground beef.
But it is also delicious sliced into chunks either before or after you cook it. Slicing the sausage before cooking it will give you bigger pieces. If you cook the whole sausage first then you'll be able to slice it into thin pieces.
Variations to try
We love the recipe exactly as written, but it's also fun to play around with. Here are a few add-ins you can try:
- Sautéed bell peppers
- Kale instead of spinach
- Cooked mushrooms
- Red pepper flakes
What to serve with Italian sausage pasta
This recipe is easily a meal by itself. But if you'd like to add a side dish, some garlic bread and a salad is a great option. Here are a few salads we like:
- A simple arugula salad with lemon salad dressing
- Roasted Green Salad
- Bacon Kale Caesar Salad
- Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Glaze
Or serve Italian sausage pasta as a side to one of these mains
If you have any of this Italian sausage pasta recipe left after dinner, it can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat leftovers, either use your microwave or reheat them in a pan over medium heat on your stove, adding a little water to the pan.
If you'd like to freeze leftover Italian sausage pasta, make sure that it is completely cool and then transfer it to a freezer-proof container. We love to use these reusable Stasher freezer bags. Frozen pasta will keep well for up to 3 months in the freezer so you'll have an easy comfort food dinner on hand any time you want it!
- 8 ounces penne (or other short pasta. gluten-free, if needed)
- 2 Italian sausages (casings removed (mild or spicy, your choice))
- 1 small onion (minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup white wine or chicken stock
- 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 4 ounces cream cheese (can be light)
- ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper (more to taste)
- 3 ounces baby spinach
- Grated parmesan (to serve)
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water then drain the pot.8 ounces penne
- Add the sausage, onion, and garlic to a large skillet (frying pan) over medium-high heat. Cook, crumbling the sausages with a spoon, until the sausages are cooked, about 6-7 minutes.2 Italian sausages, 1 small onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir it into the sausages. Let it caramelize for 2-3 minutes then add the wine or stock to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to release any flavorful bits that are stuck on.2 tablespoons tomato paste, ½ cup white wine or chicken stock
- Add the crushed tomatoes and cream cheese and simmer the sauce, stirring a few times, until the cream cheese has melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.14 ounce can crushed tomatoes, 4 ounces cream cheese, ½ teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper
- Add the cooked penne and spinach and stir them into the sauce. Add a little of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce, if needed.3 ounces baby spinach, Grated parmesan
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.
This recipe is part of our Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas series.