Creamy Sausage Pasta

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Creamy Sausage Pasta starts with thick, saucy fettuccine tossed with crumbled Italian sausage, succulent sun-dried tomatoes, and tender spinach.

This simple dinner can be ready in about 30-minutes and truly tastes restaurant quality! Pair this indulgent meal with a light side dish like this quick Cucumber Salad, Garden Salad, or Panzanella Salad.

Overhead image of Creamy Sausage Pasta

Creamy Sausage Pasta

This is pure comfort food — for those nights when nothing else will do but a piping hot bowl of ridiculously rich and creamy pasta! This meal is truly indulgent and the perfect dish to wow your dinner guests. (It can be our secret just how simple it is to make!) 

That’s right — no complicated roux or overly complex cream sauce — you’ll be amazed how quick it whips together! 

QUICK TIP

This is a restaurant-quality, luxurious, rich meal. If you’re watching calories or looking for something lighter, try this Chicken Penne Pasta with a lightened-up cream sauce.

Process shots--place a measuring cup in the collander as a reminder to save some water; brown and crumble the sausage; brown the garlic in melted butter.

Creamy Sausage Pasta Ingredients

There are a few key ingredients in Creamy Sausage Pasta worth going into detail on:

  • Sun-dried tomatoes: We love using these sun-dried julienne-cut tomatoes with herbs. The herbs in the tomatoes add additional flavor without any extra work on your end. More flavor in the tomatoes = fewer overall ingredients you need to re-create this dish.
  • Baby spinach: We recommend using baby spinach and quickly giving it a quick coarse chop. While the spinach doesn’t have to be chopped it does integrate better in the dish that way.
  • Parmesan cheese: For the perfect melt and to ensure the measurement is accurate (so the dish isn’t too salty), grab a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it on the small holes of your cheese grater. Measure and add!

Process shots of Creamy Sausage Pasta--sautee garlic and then add chicken broth, cream, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, Dijon, and Italian seasoning to the pan.

Ingredients, Continued

  • Low-sodium chicken broth: It’s important to use a low or reduced-sodium chicken broth so the final dish doesn’t end up too salty. 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.
  • Ground Italian sausage: Depending on personal preference, use mild or spicy sausage. For more heat (and flavor), use spicy sausage, and if you’re sensitive to spice, use a mild or sweet sausage instead. If some of your guests want more spice and others don’t, serve red pepper flakes on the side!
  • Fresh herbs. We want this dish to be simple to make and not require tons of ingredients, so a couple of fresh herbs to garnish at the end adds an immense amount of flavor and helps to cut through the richness of the sauce.

Process shots-- drain the pasta, reserving some water; add spinach and pasta to the pan; toss well; add sausage and toss again.

Creamy Sausage Pasta Tips

  • Salt the pasta water: Make sure the pasta is well salted as it cooks, since salting the water is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta. Add the salt when the water is boiling and then wait until the water returns to a full boil before adding in the fettuccini pasta. (Read more on how to properly salt your pasta water here.)
  • Emulsify: The final step of vigorously tossing the cream sauce, hot pasta, and reserved pasta water is one of the secrets to Italian pasta. It’s called emulsifying and that’s how you get a luxuriously smooth and incredibly flavorful sauce.
  • Increase the sauce as desired: Sometimes the pasta absorbs more sauce or you just want an extra saucy meal, so don’t be afraid to add in a few splashes of the reserved pasta water until the sauce is exactly how you like it!
  • It’s easy to go on autopilot and dump in the whole package of fettuccini, but this recipe is perfect with 10 ounces (there won’t be enough sauce to cover 16 ounces). Many packages contain 16 ounces, so save the remaining 4 ounces for another recipe.

Up-close overhead image of the Creamy Sausage Pasta in a pot

STORAGE

Creamy Sausage Pasta Storage

As with most pasta dishes, this recipe is best enjoyed the minute the sauce is emulsified. (In fact, this is when all Italian-type pasta dishes taste their best!)

You can certainly store leftovers, but will likely need to add some more heavy cream to loosen the sauce up again as you reheat the pasta. Leftover pasta will be softer, but still plenty flavorful. Because of the pasta and dairy in this dish, it isn’t a great candidate for freezing and thawing.

QUICK TIP

Do you struggle to remember to pull out pasta water before draining the pasta? I know I do! Here’s a trick: Place the colander in the sink with a mug or heat-safe measuring cup in the center. When you go to drain the pasta, you’ll be reminded to pull out some water first!

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Creamy Sausage Pasta

5 from 2 votes
Creamy Sausage Pasta starts with thick, saucy fettuccine tossed with crumbled Italian sausage, succulent sun-dried tomatoes, and tender spinach.
Print Recipe

Creamy Sausage Pasta

5 from 2 votes
Creamy Sausage Pasta starts with thick, saucy fettuccine tossed with crumbled Italian sausage, succulent sun-dried tomatoes, and tender spinach.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Creamy Sausage Pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 663kcal
Cost $9.32

Ingredients

  • 10 oz.(280g) fettuccine (not the entire package!)
  • 1 tablespoon (17g) olive oil
  • 10 oz. ground Italian sausage Note 1
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, separated
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (~3 cloves)
  • 1 cup (186g) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1-1/3 cups (308g) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (36g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese Note 2
  • 4 light packed cups (100g) baby spinach Note 3
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional
  • 1/2 cup (87g)  sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil Note 4
  • For serving: finely chopped Italian parsley OR basil or thyme, additional Parmesan cheese, or some crusty bread to sop up extra sauce -- yum!

Instructions

  • PASTA: 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 reserve some pasta water before draining the pasta!) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and then cook the pasta according to package instructions subtracting 1-1/2 minutes from what the package indicates. Use the glass mug to remove a big scoop of pasta water (set aside for now) and then drain the pasta and set aside. Don't rinse under cool water.
  • SAUSAGE: Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large heavy bottom skillet. Heat to medium-high heat and add in the sausage, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon of each). Cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon until browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage onto a paper-towel-lined plate. Leave any grease behind, but if there is more than 1 tablespoon grease, drain off the excess.
  • GARLIC: Reduce heat to medium and add the butter to the skillet. Once melted, add garlic and a tiny pinch of salt & pepper. Cook, until golden, about 30 seconds. Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken broth; it should sizzle and boil. Scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Once this 1/2 cup is mostly evaporated, add in the other 1/2 cup. Stir.
  • CREAM SAUCE: Add in the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer, over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until it thickens up and slightly reduces. The sauce shouldn't boil; reduce heat/stir more frequently it needed. Once thickened, mix in the remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and Dijon mustard if using.
  • TOSS: Add the spinach and pasta and use tongs to toss into the cream sauce until the sauce thickens, nicely coats the pasta, and the spinach cooks down (1-2 mins). If needed (if the sauce is too thick), slowly add in that reserved pasta water. After tossing for about a minute, add in the reserved sausage and continue to toss.
  • SERVE: Serve immediately. Top individual plates with a touch more Parmesan if desired, and fresh thyme or basil if using. Enjoy immediately -- we love serving some crusty toasted sourdough on the side to sop up extra sauce! Pasta is best enjoyed right after being tossed!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Sausage: Depending on personal preference, use mild or spicy sausage. For more heat (and flavor), use spicy sausage and if you're sensitive to spice use a mild or sweet sausage instead. If some of your guests want more spice and others don't, use mild sausage and serve red pepper flakes on the side! Remove sausage casings before adding to the skillet!
Note 2: Parmesan: Grab a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it on the small holes of a cheese grater to get an accurate measurement and the perfect melt in this sauce.
Note 3: Spinach: While the spinach doesn’t have to be chopped it does integrate better in the dish that way. Plus, you’ll get spinach in more bites. I just quickly run a chef's knife through a big pile of spinach!
Note 4: Sun-dried tomatoes: We love using sun-dried julienne-cut tomatoes with herbs. The herbs in the tomatoes add additional flavor without any extra work on your part. More flavor in the tomatoes = fewer overall ingredients you need to re-create this dish.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 663kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 1365mg | Potassium: 936mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 4011IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 607mg | Iron: 3mg

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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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight for my family and they loved it! I followed your recipes exactly except I bought the wrong kind of sausage. Mine was already cooked. Even though, it was still delicious!

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