Simple pasta dinners are kind of my specialty and this easy pasta with sausage and peppers is definitely one of my favorites. It’s a super quick meal, the leftovers are great for lunch the next day (or the next *few* days), and it’s surprisingly hearty for just how simple it is. So the next time you need a quick dinner fix, give this pasta with sausage and peppers a try. I think you’re going to love it!
One of the main reasons that I love this recipe is that it’s incredibly simple.
The Italian sausage is already chock-full of herbs and spices, so you don’t have to add a whole lot more to the skillet to make everything flavorful. Here’s all you’ll need to make this awesome pasta dish:
- Italian Sausage : makes this dish hearty and adds TONS of flavor to the meal.
- Onion and Bell Peppers : these vegetables add color, texture, and a slight sweetness to the meal, which perfectly balances the rich sausage and spicy red pepper.
- Seasonings : I kept the seasonings simple since the sausage will add so much flavor. All you need is some fresh garlic, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper. But you could totally use an Italian seasoning blend in place of the individual herbs.
- Pasta : I like to use penne pasta for this dish because the shape pairs well with the size of the sausage and peppers, and the ribbed texture helps grab onto the sauce.
- Jarred Pasta Sauce : Using a store-bought sauce keeps this recipe incredibly simple and the ingredient list short. It’s a shortcut worth taking, IMHO!
- Feta : a little sprinkle of feta cheese on top adds one last pop of flavor that really takes this dish to the next level! If you don’t have feta, a little grated Parmesan would also be awesome.
WHAT KIND OF SAUSAGE TO USE
I think Italian sausage pairs best with this recipe and sweet, hot, or mild Italian sausage will all work fine. I prefer to use sausage in links so I can slice it into medallions, but you could also use loose Italian sausage if that’s what’s available.
If you prefer a chicken sausage to pork, you could definitely use that, just make sure it’s seasoned similarly to Italian sausage. You may also need to add a little extra fat to the skillet to make up for the fat that renders out of the pork sausage.
WHAT KIND OF SAUCE TO USE
I seriously love this dish with literally any kind of jarred pasta sauce, and for that reason I usually just reach for the most generic and inexpensive red sauce available. This time around I used Kroger’s Tomato + Basil tomato sauce. Nothing fancy, but still good, and definitely inexpensive! If you want to make your own sauce, you can try our simple Weeknight Pasta Sauce recipe (minus the ground beef).
baked 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add two Italian sausage links (about ½ lb. total) to the skillet and cook on each side until well browned. The sausage will not be cooked through at this point, but that’s okay.
Remove the partially cooked sausage to a small pieces board and slice them into ¼-½ inch wide medallions.
Return the sliced sausage to the skillet and continue cooking over medium Bake until the sausage is browned on the cut sides. Remove the cooked sausage to a clean bowl.
Meanwhile, slice one red bell pepper and one yellow onion into ¼-inch wide strips.
Add the sliced peppers and onions to the skillet with the remaining fat from the sausage. Continue to cook over medium Bake until the peppers and onions just begin to soften. The moisture from the vegetables will help lift the browned bits from the sausage off the bottom of the skillet.
Add the cooked sausage back to the skillet along with one 24 oz. jar of pasta sauce, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, and ¼ tsp crushed red pepper. Stir everything to combine and bake through.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add ½ lb. pasta and continue to boil until tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the in a colander, then add it to the skillet with the sauce. Stir to combine.Sprinkle a small amount of crumbled feta (about 1 oz.) and a little chopped parsley (if desired) over top just before serving.