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Creamy Tuscan Sausage Pasta – The Cooking Jar

Creamy Tuscan sausage pasta in a stainless steel pot with a wooden spatula.


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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.

Creamy Tuscan sausage pasta in a stainless steel pot with a wooden spatula.

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

Ingredients to make creamy Tuscan sausage pasta in prep bowls.

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.

Recipe Tip

  • 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.
A close up shot of Tuscan sausage pasta with rigatoni, Italian sausage, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes smothered in a cream sauce.
  • 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.

Recipe Tip

  • 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.
Creamy Tuscan sausage pasta in a white low bowl.
  • 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.

Customize It!

  • 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.
A wooden spoon scooping up a big portion of Tuscan sausage pasta from a white bowl.

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 🙂

MORE CREAMY PASTA RECIPES TO TRY

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Creamy Tuscan sausage pasta in a stainless steel pot with a wooden spatula.

Creamy Tuscan Sausage Pasta



  • Author:
    The Cooking Jar

  • Total Time:
    30 minutes

  • Yield:
    4-6 1x

Description

Creamy Tuscan sausage pasta is a comforting mix of pasta, Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach smothered in a rich cream sauce.


Ingredients


Units


Scale

  • 16 oz. rigatoni pasta
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage, mild, sweet, or hot
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine/chicken broth
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 oz. fresh baby spinach, about 3 cups tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley/basil to garnish, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted water according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. Over medium heat, brown the sausage in a large skillet. Break up any clumps and brown until slightly golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Melt butter, add in olive oil and saute sun-dried tomatoes for about 1 minute (see notes).
  4. Toss in garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, pour in white wine or chicken broth and scrape off any stuck-on browned bits from the pan.
  6. Add heavy cream and bring to a gentle boil. Add Parmesan cheese in batches, stirring until the cheese melts smoothly into the sauce.
  7. Season with Italian seasoning, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  8. Add baby spinach and stir until the spinach wilts into the sauce.
  9. Add cooked sausage and pasta and toss to fully coat in the sauce.
  10. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, basil, or extra Parmesan cheese and dish and serve hot.
  11. Enjoy!

Notes

  • 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 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.

  • Sautéing in sun-dried oil – You can use sun-dried oil instead of olive oil while sautéing the garlic to add more flavor.

  • Scroll up to RECIPE TIPS for more useful tips, suggestions and ingredient substitutions.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins



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