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Creamy Tuscan sausage pasta is a comforting mix of pasta, Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach smothered in a rich cream sauce. This quick 30-minute recipe using simple pantry staples is perfect for indulgent weekday pasta nights.
Today we’re making some flavorful creamy Tuscan sausage pasta which is basically pasta tossed in a sun-dried tomato and spinach cream sauce. The sauce goes well with all kinds of pasta shapes, so pick your favorite and pair it with this hearty and comforting recipe.
It tastes good enough to be a restaurant-quality meal you can whip up for date night but is easy enough to also be a quick weeknight dinner. With simple pantry staples and 30 minutes of cooking time, you’re ready for a warm and delicious bowl of creamy pasta that pairs well with some homemade garlic bread, garlic knots, or a simple salad. For more Tuscan recipes try this Tuscan chicken pasta or a seafood variation of creamy Tuscan shrimp. In the meantime, let’s make some pasta.
Ingredients in Creamy Sausage Pasta
CREAMY SAUSAGE PASTA RECIPE TIPS
- Skillet – You’ll need about a 14″ skillet to fit everything in comfortably. If you want more room to toss things around and don’t want to fuss with space, try using a dutch oven instead.
- Pasta – I used rigatoni pasta but you can use other tube-type pasta like penne, ziti, elbow, shells, cavatappi, bowties, fusilli, or long pasta like spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, or angel hair. This should also work with gnocchi and ravioli.
- Tomatoes – I used julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and chopped them up so there’s more to go around without overpowering the sauce. If you don’t mind biting into a julienned chunk of sun-dried tomato, you can use it as is, straight from the jar. If you don’t like the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes or want something fresher, I’ve seen many recipes use halved cherry or grape tomatoes as a substitute.
- You can use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes instead of olive oil while sautéing the garlic to add more flavor.
- Italian sausage – Mild, sweet, or hot Italian sausage all work for this recipe. I used bulk ground Italian sausage and broke down the clumps while browning with a meat smasher. I like to brown the sausage until some bits are crunchy and golden.
- Browning – You don’t need to add any oil while browning the ground sausage; it will render its own fat which you can use to pan-fry it. If you like crunchy browned bits in your meat, cook the sausage a little longer till some of the meat is crisp and golden around the edges.
- Garlic – Mince the garlic as usual or use a reliable garlic press. If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can substitute it with some garlic powder.
- White wine – Use a dry white wine like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc since you want the wine to add acidity and not sweetness. To make this recipe kid-friendly, substitute white wine with chicken broth instead. Since only half a cup of broth is needed, it feels like a waste to buy canned broth or broth in a carton unless you plan to use it up soon. I like to use Better than Bouillon chicken and mix it with water as needed. One teaspoon is about one bouillon cube which is about one cup of broth.
- Heavy cream – You should be able to substitute heavy cream with half and half if you keep the heat very low while cooking so the sauce doesn’t curdle.
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated Parmesan works best as it melts smoothly in the sauce. I usually buy a block of Parmesan and grate it myself using a microplane. Though, if you’re short on time, you can get some pre-packaged grated Parmesan cheese from the store. It won’t melt as smoothly as freshly grated Parmesan but it’s still pretty decent. My go-to brand is BelGioioso.
- Freshly grated Parmesan has an easier time melting into the sauce. Add the Parmesan in batches and stir it in as you go to prevent clumping.
- Spinach– I use baby spinach but if you’re not a fan, you can leave it out, substitute it with fresh basil or use one of the suggested veggie substitutions below.
- Reheating – Reheat over the stovetop or in the microwave. Add some milk and/or more Parmesan cheese while reheating to loosen up the sauce and bring back some creaminess.
- Substitute the spinach – You can substitute spinach with fresh basil, asparagus spears, bell peppers, mushrooms, or broccoli.
- Add more flavor – Saute some freshly chopped yellow onions in the butter for more flavor.
- Add some zest – Add more vibrant flavors with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Add some bite – Add a little bite by adding a teaspoon or so of Dijon mustard to the cream sauce.
- Add some heat – Add a few dashes of crushed red pepper for some heat.
- Make it richer – For a richer, Alfredo-like sauce, add more grated Parmesan cheese.
And that’s about it! Enjoy your creamy pasta and let me know how you liked it or what substitutions you made in the comments below 🙂