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Sausage and Peppers Pasta

Sausage and Peppers Pasta takes the classic Italian dish and turns it into an easy and delicious pasta dinner that’s on the table in under an hour. Full of sliced Italian sausage, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce all mixed together with hearty rigatoni pasta, it’s a total winner!


An Italian sausage and peppers sandwich is one of my most favorite sandwiches of all time! The classic flavor combination is pretty hard to beat.

Turning sausage and peppers into a pasta dish was a no-brainer because…why not? Everything is better when you add some pasta!

Wow, what an amazing combination of flavors. You’ll probably want to come back for seconds (or maybe even thirds). Yep, I have definitely had thirds.

This is one of my most favorite pasta recipes EVER! This and some garlic bread, and I am in food heaven!

For this dish, I like nice thick slices of sausage in my pasta rather than sausage crumbled into the sauce, so I buy sausage links, cook them whole in water, and then slice them before adding them to the peppers and onions to get a little bit of a yummy brown crust on them.

Why do I cook the sausages in water instead of just frying them? Frying whole links of sausage can sometimes be difficult because the outside can get too brown (or burnt) before the inside is cooked through.

Cooking them in water is like a little bit of cooking insurance. You get fully-cooked sausages, and then you can brown them to your liking.

Why not just slice the raw sausages and then fry them? Well, I can never make nice slices with raw sausage (even with a sharp knife, they always seem to get kind of smushed), and then they always turn into balls rather than slices when I fry them. I just want nice slices like these…

sausage and peppers pasta in a skillet with a wooden spoon and a red napkin on the side

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Italian sausage links (sweet, hot, or a combination)
  • Rigatoni pasta
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Red bell pepper
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Use your favorite spaghetti sauce, homemade or jarred. If you’d like to make your own sauce, check out my recipe for Quick & Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. It only takes about 30 minutes! One recipe would make the perfect amount for this pasta.

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS PASTA:

three images showing steps to make sausage and peppers pasta
three images showing steps to make sausage and peppers pasta
three images showing steps to make sausage and peppers pasta

If you’d like to fry your sausages instead, I would say use a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the sausages over medium to medium-low heat for about 4 minutes on each of the 4 sides or until they are cooked through. Just watch the heat to be sure the outside doesn’t get too brown before the sausages are fully cooked.

You know what else is good? Grilling them (and the veggies too)! Sooo good!

If you really want to save some time and make this a super speedy dish, you can use pre-cooked Italian sausages – either ones you made ahead of time or store-bought. There are a few different brands in the grocery store, and they are usually made of chicken. They’re really tasty!

For the pasta, you can really use any pasta you’d like. I like rigatoni because they are big and hearty and stand up well to the big slices of sausage, but any pasta will work!

forkful of rigatoni, sausage and pepper being taken out of a bowl of sausage and peppers pasta

Oh, and don’t forget the Parmesan cheese for some EXTRA YUM!

I hope you try this recipe for Sausage and Peppers Pasta and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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a bowl of sausage and peppers pasta with a red napkin and fork on the side

Sausage and Peppers Pasta

Sausage and Peppers Pasta takes the classic Italian dish and turns it into an easy and delicious pasta dinner that’s on the table in under an hour. Full of sliced Italian sausage, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce all mixed together with hearty rigatoni pasta, it’s a total winner!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Estimated Calories: 682

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Italian sausage links (sweet, hot, or a combination)
  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce, homemade or jarred (one 24 to 28-ounce jar)
  • shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

  • Place the sausage links in a large skillet. Add cold water to just cover the sausages. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through (temperature of at least 160°F – be careful when taking the temperature, as some hot juice can squirt out of the sausages). Remove the sausages to a plate and allow to cool slightly. Remove the water from the skillet. 
  • While the sausages are cooking, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. 
  • Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  • Slice the sausages into ¼-inch thick pieces. Add to the skillet with the peppers and onions along with the garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausages and veggies are lightly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Add the spaghetti sauce and heat through.
  • Add the rigatoni and stir to combine. 
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Notes

  • If you want to skip the step of cooking the sausage and make this recipe even quicker, use pre-cooked Italian sausages – either ones that you made yourself ahead of time or store-bought.
  • Calorie estimate does not include Parmesan cheese. Grated Parmesan cheese adds about 30 calories per tablespoon. Shredded is about 20 calories per tablespoon.
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