Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni

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Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni is a restaurant-quality meal that is easy to make and is prepared with everyday ingredients. This is comfort food at its finest — rigatoni pasta tossed in a creamy Italian-seasoned sausage and mushrooms sauce.

For a tomato-based rigatoni sauce, try our original Sausage Rigatoni! This Creamy Sausage Pasta is another fan-favorite recipe.

Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Rigatoni

Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni

When the weather gets cold, we pretty much live on soup recipes and hearty pasta dishes (both total comfort meals in my book). And this pasta dish is pure comfort food — it’s hearty, filling, rich, and indulgent.

The sauce has a wonderful dimension of flavor. We start by lightly caramelizing onions in the pan, which adds a hint of sweetness. Then, the sausage is browned with the onions, infusing it with loads of flavor. And finally, we sauté mushrooms to unlock a wonderful meaty texture and savory flavor. To the mushrooms, we add cream and a few other ingredients, which pull everything together. Toss in the perfect al dente rigatoni, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, and a touch of fresh herbs, and dinner is served!

Process shots-- browning the onion in oil; adding in the sausage and continuing to brown.

Let’s Chat Ingredients

A few ingredients in this Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni worth mentioning:

  • Mushrooms. Really, any mushrooms work, and we like baby bella or crimini best. For easier prep, go with whatever you can find pre-sliced at your store!
  • Parmesan cheese. Grab a block/wedge of Parmesan cheese, not the jarred or canned type — the flavor will be overpowering and too salty.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth. There is a good deal of salt in the dish between the sausage, pasta, reserved pasta water, and Parmesan cheese so we want to limit it in the broth. 
  • Italian-style ground sausage. Depending on personal preference, use mild or spicy sausage — either work. If using Italian sausages with casings, remove the casings before cooking
  • Dijon mustard. This adds a tanginess to the sauce that we really enjoy. If you aren’t a Dijon fan, leave it out!
  • Heavy cream. We don’t recommend swapping out the heavy cream in this dish since we’re relying on its thickness for the right sauce texture. Additionally, it adds such an incredible richness to the sauce — it’s a key ingredient!

Process shots of creamy sausage and mushroom rigatoni--Cooking the mushrooms in butter; add butter, garlic and seasonings; continue to cook.

SHORTCUTS

Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni Shortcuts

  • Choose pre-sliced produce. Most grocery stores sell diced yellow onions in the produce section of the store. Alternatively, frozen diced onions are often found by the other frozen veggies and can be used in this recipe. While you’re getting the pre-diced onions, look for sliced mushrooms — most stores offer whole or sliced mushrooms and the sliced ones will save you chopping time.
  • Use jarred garlic or a garlic press. Instead of mincing your own garlic, use jarred to save time. Or, a garlic press will get you fresh minced garlic in a fraction of the time that hand mincing takes.
  • Pick up a bag of pre-washed baby spinach. A bag of ready-to-use spinach is a huge time saver as opposed to washing, drying, removing stems, and cutting down a bundle of regular spinach. The chopping doesn’t need to take more than a minute; just pile the spinach on a cutting board and run a large chef’s knife through it a few times — easy and quick!

Process shots-- add chicken broth to the mushrooms; cook until evaporated; add cream, Parmesan and Dijon; simmer until thickened.

Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni Tips

  • Salt the pasta water: Salt the pasta well as it cooks, since salting the water is how we season the actual pasta.
  • Don’t forget to reserve pasta water. When cooking pasta, it’s easy to go on auto-pilot and drain it all. Don’t forget to pull out some of the cooking water right before draining the pasta. The reserved water is available if needed to thin the sauce and make the dish ultra creamy. 
  • Slightly undercook the pasta; it will finish cooking as it gets tossed with the sauce. If the pasta is fully cooked, it will lose texture when getting tossed with the sauce. We recommend cooking it one minute less than the package directs.

QUICK TIP

Rigatoni is our favorite in Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni (hence the name), but if you prefer, substitute it for another tubular pasta like ziti, penne, or mostaccioli. The key concept is to use a similar type: ridges and tubes will hold the sauce better than small, curvy pasta.

Process shots of the creamy sausage and mushroom rigatoni--add pasta to the pan and toss; add spinach and sausage; toss again.

VARIATIONS

Variations

  • Add some heat: For more heat (and flavor), use a spicy Italian sausage; if you’re sensitive to spice, use mild or sweet sausage instead. If some of your guests want more spice and others don’t, serve red pepper flakes on the side!
  • Add some white wine: Replace the low-sodium chicken broth with a Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc for more of a restaurant feel. Be sure to cook it off just like the chicken broth is cooked off.

Up-close overhead image of Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Rigatoni in the pot

Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni Side Dishes

This Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni is rich and indulgent, so I recommend pairing it with a light side dish. Here are our suggestions:

Overhead image of Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Rigatoni

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Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni

5 from 1 vote
Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni is a restaurant-quality meal that is simple to make and prepared with everyday ingredients. This is comfort food at its finest -- rigatoni pasta is tossed in a creamy Italian-seasoned sausage and mushrooms sauce.
Print Recipe

Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni

5 from 1 vote
Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni is a restaurant-quality meal that is simple to make and prepared with everyday ingredients. This is comfort food at its finest -- rigatoni pasta is tossed in a creamy Italian-seasoned sausage and mushrooms sauce.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Creamy Sausage And Mushroom Rigatoni
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 797kcal
Cost $8.42

Ingredients

  • 3-1/4 cups (9 oz.; 250g) rigatoni pasta uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 lb. (16 oz.) Italian sausage Note 1
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
  • 4 cups (12 oz. 345g) sliced mushrooms (we love Baby Bella)
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons each: Italian seasoning, fennel seeds Note 2
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth Note 3
  • 1 cup (225g) heavy whipping cream Note 4
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese Note 5
  • 4 cups (75g) coarsely chopped baby spinach
  • Optional: 1-1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • For serving: additional Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs (like thyme, parsley, or basil) and red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  • PREP: Start by measuring pasta and setting it aside. Set a large colander in the sink with a glass mug or liquid measuring cup in the center of the colander (this is so you don't forget to grab some pasta water before draining!). Dice the onion, thinly slice mushrooms, and mince garlic. Grate the Parmesan cheese (Note 3), coarsely chop spinach and measure out seasonings -- we're ready to start!
  • ONION AND SAUSAGE: Add olive oil to a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven; heat to medium high. Add in the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add in the sausage and cook, crumbling as you cook, until browned through, about 5-8 minutes. Once browned, remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the drippings behind. If there is more than about 1 tablespoon, drain off the excess.
  • RIGATONI: At this point, bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, generously salt the water. Once the salted water is boiling, add rigatoni (not the whole box-- just 3-1/4 cups!) and cook according to package directions, draining pasta one minute before directed. Before draining, pull out a mugful of water and then drain. Do not rinse pasta.
  • MUSHROOMS: Add 1 tablespoon butter and all the sliced mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then season to taste with salt and pepper (I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.) Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to turn a nice golden brown and all their liquid has evaporated-- about 3-4 more minutes. Once the mushrooms are nice and golden, add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the garlic, and seasonings (Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, oregano, and thyme). Stir for another 1-2 minutes or until everything is nice and golden.
  • SAUCE: Add in the chicken broth -- it should sizzle and boil. Cook, stirring and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until all of the broth is absorbed into the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to low and add in the cream, Parmesan cheese, and Dijon, if using. Mix and allow the sauce to come to a low simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2-3 more minutes.
  • FINISHING: Keeping heat on low, add in the pasta. Use tongs to vigorously toss the sauce with the cooked pasta for about 30 seconds and then add in the reserved sausage and the spinach. Continue to toss until the sauce clings nicely to the pasta, about 2-3 minutes. If needed, slowly add the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce (if the sauce is getting too thick). Taste and season if needed with additional salt/pepper. Serve on plates with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes if desired, and fresh herbs, if using.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Sausage: Depending on personal preference, use mild or spicy sausage -- either work. Sausage can come in different sized packages -- we use 1 pound, which makes for a pretty meaty sauce -- if you'd like a less meaty sauce, use 12 ounces. If using Italian sausages with casings, be sure to remove the casings before cooking. If sausage doesn't leave behind at least 1 tablespoon grease, add an additional 1 tablespoon olive oil before adding in the mushrooms.
Note 2: Fennel seeds: Measure and then crush the seeds (mortar and pestle or pound in a bag with the bottom of a frying pan) and add to the pan. Ground fennel is stronger, so you'll need less. If you can't find the seeds or ground fennel (or don't like the flavor), leave it out -- the recipe will still be tasty -- you may want to amp up the other seasonings a touch.
Note 3: Chicken broth: If you'd like to use wine in this recipe, replace the chicken broth with a white wine like a Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc for more of a restaurant feel. Be sure to cook it off just like the chicken broth is cooked off. 
Note 4: Parmesan: Grab a block/wedge of Parmesan cheese, not the jarred or canned Parmesan cheese — the flavor will be overpowering and too salty. Grate the Parmesan on the small sides of the grater then measure to get 1/3 cup -- now you have the perfect amount for this recipe!
Note 5: Heavy cream: We don't recommend swapping out the heavy cream in this dish since we're relying on the thickness of the cream for the right sauce texture. Additionally, it adds such an incredible richness to the sauce -- it's a key ingredient!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 797kcal | Carbohydrates: 59.4g | Protein: 29.6g | Fat: 49.2g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 881.8mg | Fiber: 4.2g | Sugar: 5.5g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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