Enjoy the rich and comforting flavors of this Creamy Tuscan Sausage Pasta. This recipe combines the hearty goodness of ground Italian sausage with the elegance of a luscious cream sauce whipped up effortlessly for an easy weeknight meal!
Tuscan sausage pasta is an Italian dish that brings together the robust flavors of Tuscany's rustic countryside. It marries ground Italian sausage—a flavorful combination of spices and pork—with a creamy sauce that has hints of garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese. The result is a satisfying blend of savory and creamy, capturing the essence of Tuscan cuisine in every bite!
Creating this easy Italian pasta is a breeze, and you definitely don't need to be an Italian chef to master it. You’ll start by cooking rigatoni pasta until it's perfectly al dente. While that's happening, you'll brown ground Italian sausage with a dash of butter, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, low-sodium chicken broth, heavy cream, and a blend of Italian seasoning. As these flavors simmer and bubble, grated Parmesan cheese gets added to turn into a velvety sauce. Toss in some baby spinach for a pop of color and nutrition, and finally, add the pasta.
The result is an impressive Italian dish that is rich, hearty, and packed with flavor. With just a few simple steps and readily available ingredients, you can make this restaurant-quality meal that's perfect for any weeknight dinner or to savor on a slower weekend day!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Impress your family and friends with a dish that looks and tastes like it's straight out of a high-end Italian restaurant. This dish comes together in a matter of minutes, proving that gourmet cooking can be a snap!
- This meal is made with simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store.
- It’s versatile! Swap spinach for kale, experiment with different types of sausage, or even incorporate extra veggies—making every batch uniquely yours.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Rigatoni Pasta - This sturdy pasta variety acts as the comforting base, providing a satisfying chewiness that holds up well in the creamy sauce.
- Ground Italian Sausage - Bursting with traditional Italian spices, the sausage infuses the dish with bold, savory flavors.
- Butter - Adds a touch of richness to the sauce, enhancing the creamy texture.
- Garlic - Provides aromatic depth, elevating the overall taste with classic Italian flavor.
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth - Serves as a flavorful liquid to help create the sauce without being overly salty.
- Heavy Cream - Lends the velvety texture that defines this dish's creamy goodness.
- Seasonings - Salt for balance, black pepper for a gentle kick, paprika for a subtle smokiness, and Italian seasoning gives this dish herbal flair.
- Parmesan Cheese - Brings its characteristic salty, nutty notes, enriching the sauce's flavor while also acting as a thickening agent.
- Baby Spinach - Adds a touch of vibrant color and earthy freshness while wilting into the dish.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes - Provides pops of intense tomato flavor and a chewy texture, contrasting beautifully with the creaminess of the sauce and sausage.
How To Make Creamy Tuscan Sausage Pasta
Prepare the pasta: Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Cook the ground sausage: In a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage and crumble until there is no longer any pink showing. It takes about 5-7 minutes. Drain excess grease, remove sausage and set aside.
Assemble the creamy sauce: Reduce heat to medium-low and melt butter. Saute garlic and sun-dried tomatoes for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, heavy cream, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Whisk continuously until the sauce starts to bubble. Slowly whisk in parmesan until completely melted.
Add pasta and spinach: Place the spinach in the skillet. Stir occasionally until the spinach starts to wilt. Then, add pasta and sausage to the sauce and coat.
Garnish and serve: Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- Cook the rigatoni pasta just until it's al dente, as it will continue to cook slightly when combined with the sauce. This ensures a delightful texture that's not overly soft.
- When browning the ground Italian sausage, break it into small crumbles for even cooking. This creates a uniform distribution of flavor throughout the dish.
- While sautéing the garlic, keep an eye on it to prevent it from browning too much, as overly browned garlic can turn bitter.
- When adding the heavy cream to the sauce, pour it in slowly while whisking to achieve a smooth, lump-free consistency. This step ensures a silky texture in the final dish.
- While heating the sauce, maintain a gentle simmer rather than a vigorous boil. This allows the flavors to meld together while preventing the cream from curdling.
- When whisking in the grated Parmesan cheese, do it in small increments. This helps the cheese melt smoothly into the sauce without clumping.
- When adding the baby spinach, stir occasionally to allow it to wilt evenly. Be mindful not to overcook it, as you want the spinach to retain its vibrant color and subtle crunch.
- For a vegetarian twist, swap out the ground Italian sausage with crumbled plant-based sausage or mushrooms sautéed with Italian herbs.
- If you crave a bit of heat, opt for spicy Italian sausage or add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce.
- Experiment with different cheeses, like Asiago or Pecorino Romano, in place of Parmesan for a distinct twist on the sauce's richness.
- Play around with fresh herbs like basil, oregano, or thyme, either stirred into the sauce or used as a garnish. Their fragrant notes can add depth to the dish.
- Try diced grilled chicken or cooked shrimp instead of sausage for a leaner protein option. Marinate the protein with Italian herbs before cooking for a burst of flavor.
- Use your favorite gluten-free pasta variety and double-check that all other ingredients, like sausage and broth, are also gluten-free to create a safe and satisfying option for those with dietary restrictions.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Store any leftover Creamy Tuscan Sausage Pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, the pasta will stay delicious for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: To freeze the dish, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Reheat gently in a skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally to ensure even warming. You may need to add a splash of chicken broth or cream to restore the creamy consistency.
While rigatoni is traditional, you can substitute it with penne, fettuccine, or any pasta shape you prefer. Just be mindful of cooking times, as different kinds of pasta may vary.
Yes, you can use half-and-half for a slightly lighter version of the dish. Keep in mind that the sauce might be a bit less creamy, but it will still be delicious.
You can prepare the pasta and sauce components separately in advance and then combine them just before serving. This ensures the pasta retains its al dente texture and the sauce remains velvety.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
- Easy Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Easy Spaghetti Carbonara
- Easy Instant Pot Baked Ziti with Meat
- Easy Creamy Chicken Alfredo
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Creamy Tuscan Sausage Pasta
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tsp garlic
- ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 cup parmesan cheese (finely shredded)
- 2 cups baby spinach (chopped)
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained and sliced thin)
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage and crumble until there is no longer any pink showing. It takes about 5-7 minutes. Drain excess grease and remove sausage and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and melt butter. Saute garlic and sun-dried tomatoes for 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth, heavy cream, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and paprika. Whisk continuously until the sauce starts to bubble. Slowly whisk in parmesan until completely melted.
- Place the spinach in the skillet. Stir occasionally until the spinach starts to wilt. Then, add pasta and sausage to the sauce and coat.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.