Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta with Bell Peppers is an easy 30-minute recipe made entirely in one pan! The creamy pasta dish features Italian sausage, bow-tie pasta, tomato pasta sauce, and bell peppers. It's a perfect weeknight dinner to make for your family, kids, and friends!
One-pan 30-minute pasta dinner
In this easy recipe, I cooked everything in one pan: sausage, tomato cream sauce, and even the pasta! This minimizes cleanup and shortens cooking time. This Italian-inspired creamy sausage pasta takes only 30 minutes to make! It's a great dinner recipe to have in your rotation for busy weeknights. This meal is simple, yet the flavors are fantastic! It tastes like pasta from an Italian restaurant.
Why make this recipe?
I made this simple Italian sausage pasta with basic ingredients found in any pantry, such as pasta, sausage, and tomato pasta sauce. It's a perfect weeknight dinner recipe since it takes only 30 minutes to make and uses one pan!
What you have in the end is a beautiful creamy pasta dish that tastes and looks like an entree from a fine dining Italian restaurant!
If you like sausage pasta recipes, be sure to check out this delicious sausage tortellini soup with spinach or this popular recipe on my site: skillet mac and cheese with sausage and bell peppers.
How to make Italian sausage pasta
- Sausage. If you have a spicy sausage somewhere in your fridge or a freezer, this is the recipe to use it! Spicy sausage will blend exceptionally well with creamy tomato pasta sauce and veggies. I used crumbled sausage without casings. Any type of pork sausage, spicy sausage, or Italian sausage will work!
- Pasta. Here, I use an Italian pasta, called Farfalle, or bow tie pasta. The bow-tie shape of this pasta works very well with the creamy tomato pasta sauce and diced red and green bell peppers. It will add an appealing look to your dinner. Cook bow-tie pasta al dente for best texture.
- Tomato sauce for pasta. Use your favorite tomato sauce - it can be a store-bought pasta sauce or marinara sauce. Any flavor will work: traditional, tomato basil, arrabbiata, garlic tomato sauce, etc.
- Heavy cream is added to the tomato sauce to create a luscious and delicious tomato cream sauce for sausage pasta.
- Cheese. I suggest buying a block of Parmesan cheese and shredding it finely or grating it yourself. This ensures the cheese melts properly into the sauce.
- Veggies. Make sure to add veggies to this pasta dish. Diced bell peppers work great! I used 2 medium bell peppers - 1 red and 1 green (for presentation purposes).
- First, cook the crumbled Italian sausage with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet for about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
- Next, to the same skillet with cooked sausage, add diced bell peppers, uncooked pasta, marinara sauce, chicken broth, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning.
- Once you add all these ingredients to the skillet, bring everything to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to simmer and make sure the pasta is submerged. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes until the pasta is tender, occasionally stirring.
- Then, add heavy cream, sprinkle with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, and mix everything well.
- Remove the skillet from heat, cover, and let the Italian sausage pasta sit for about 3 minutes or until cheese melts.
Substitutions and variations
This 30-minute weeknight meal is not only easy to prepare, but it is also an incredibly flexible and versatile dinner. There are many variations and substitutions you can make:
- Pasta. Use any type of short pasta. That includes farfalle (bow-tie pasta), penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or orecchiette. You can also use gnocchi.
- Veggies. This creamy pasta dish uses bell peppers. You can also use spinach, kale, or fresh tomatoes. Roasted bell peppers or mushrooms will work great, too!
- Sausage. Use crumbled spicy Italian sausage. You can also use Italian sausage links in casings. I would remove the casings and then slice the sausage. You can also use sweet or mild Italian sausage - in this case, I do recommend adding some spice, such as red pepper flakes.
- Cheese. Use shredded Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, or Asiago. You can also use shredded low-moisture part-skim Mozzarella cheese. Do not use soft Mozzarella cheese balls.
- Cream. If you don't have heavy cream, you can use half-and-half instead and add more shredded cheese to thicken the sauce.
Storage and reheating tips
This 30-minute weeknight meal is easy to store and reheat. Here are some tips:
- Fridge. Store creamy sausage pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Because of the creamy nature of the sauce, I do not recommend freezing this dish.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. Reheat the refrigerated pasta in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Taste and reheat for 30 seconds more, if needed.
- Reheat on the stovetop. Reheat this dish in a large, high-sided skillet on the stovetop on low-medium heat. When using this method, add a small amount of heavy cream, or half-and-half, or milk to thin out the sauce when reheating.
Cooking tips and recipe notes
- Use wine instead of some of the chicken broth. Add a splash of dry red wine to replace some of the chicken broth, if you like. It will add richness and flavor to the sauce, and is a very Italian thing to do!
- Spice it up! This is the kind of recipe that benefits from a bit of heat. Use red pepper flakes to spice up this dish, especially if the sausage you use is not spicy.
- Remove casings from the sausage and slice the sausage into small pieces. Do this even if you use sausage links. This will make the texture of the whole dish much better!
- Make this gluten-free by using gluten-free short pasta - there are many options on the market right now.
- Make this creamy pasta dish dairy-free by using unsweetened coconut milk instead of heavy cream.
- Toppings. When serving, top this sausage pasta with shredded Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper.
- Bread. Serve Italian sausage pasta with a slice of warm Italian bread, garlic bread, or olive bread loaf. Breadsticks are great, too!
- Simple salad. Because this recipe features a rich and luscious cream sauce, a fresh salad is a great choice. I would suggest a basic spinach or arugula salad, probably sprinkled with toasted nuts, a small amount of shredded Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese, and dressed with your favorite salad dressing!
Other creamy sausage pasta recipes you might like
- Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
- Creamy Mozzarella Pasta with Smoked Sausage
- Creamy Sausage Tortellini with Spinach, Tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese sauce
Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta (One-Pan, 30-Minute Recipe)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 15 oz Italian sausage
- 2 bell peppers diced (red and green), medium size
- 8 oz pasta bow-tie, uncooked
- 14 oz tomato pasta sauce or marinara sauce
- 16 oz chicken broth or water
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese freshly finely shredded
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain off fat.
- To the same skillet with sausage, add diced bell peppers, uncooked pasta, marinara sauce (tomato pasta sauce), chicken broth (or water), minced garlic, and Italian seasoning.
- Bring to boil, mix everything well; reduce heat to simmer. Make sure the pasta is submerged. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes until the pasta is tender, occasionally stirring.
- Add heavy cream, sprinkle with cheese, and mix everything well. Remove from heat, cover, and let it sit for about 3 minutes or until the cheese melts.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Would pesto work, in place of the tomato sauce? And if so, would I have to use the same amount as the tomato sauce?
You could use pesto, but pesto has such a strong flavor that I wouldn't use it in the same amounts. I would use about 1/2 cup of pesto and add more liquid (chicken broth or heavy cream) to compensate if you're making this as a one-pan meal.
Can I use turkey Italian sausage and half & half instead of heavy cream?
Absolutely! Both substitutions will work well!
I had bell peppers laying around and didn't know what to do with them because I don't normally eat them. Saw this on FB and put my wrinkly bell peppers to good use! Creamy and comforting - will make again.
Glad you've used those bell peppers! 🙂