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Italian Sausage Pasta

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This Italian sausage pasta is one of those recipes that shows you don’t need many ingredients to make something delicious. The flavours are simple, rich and meaty, with a moreish lightly spiced taste. Perfect for a family dinner.

Italian Sausage Pasta in a white bowl with parmesan

This recipe was a creation I made with another chef, who’s currently a head chef in excellent trattoria Italy. The method of handling the sausage mince is authentic in Italy and uses northern Italian flavours. It’s a tasty, simplified take on a traditional Bologna bolognese

It only needs a fraction of the simmering time because the mince is already tenderized and doesn’t require a stock because it’s already rich. If you are a wine lover, pair it with a dry/semi-dry wine.

What is Italian Sausage?

In Italy, they have many, many different types of sausages. You can find over 100 variations of sausages in Italy from spicy spreadable pastes (Nudja), cured sausages (Salami’s), ground cured (Mortadella).

But the one we are looking for is a raw & spiced sausage. You tend to find these in supermarkets in Western Europe and Northern American named Italian Sausage. One of their main ingredients is fennel, and they tend to come in mild and hot.

Can’t find Italian Sausage? Follow These Tips

If you can’t find Italian sausages in your supermarket or butcher, don’t worry! I have made this recipe multiple times with good quality, regular, raw plain sausages.

Take the casing of the sausages. Add the sausage meat to a mixing bowl and discard the cases. Then mix in this Italian sausage spice mix.

Italian Sausage Spice Mix

  • 1 Bunch Fresh Parsley
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional, if you want it spicy)
  • 1/3 tsp Crushed or Ground Fennel Seeds
  • 2 Minced Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Mild Chilli Flakes

How to Take off Sausage Casing

If you are planning on making your Italian sausage mixture, make sure to have your spice mix made first. This way, instead of oxidizing after you take the casing off, they are marinading.

Method 1 – Sharp Knife

Have a chopping board and mixing bowl ready. Place the sausages onto the chopping board and use the tip of the knife to pierce and slice the sausages lengthways. Then push the mincemeat out in a mixing bowl.

Method 2 – Not as Sharp Knife

Have a chopping board and mixing bowl ready. Place the sausages onto the chopping board. Cut the edge off the sausage and squeeze the mincemeat into a bowl.

Expert Tips & Tricks

Making Your Italian Sausage – When making your version of Italian sausage pasta, make the spice mix first. Then de-cased the sausage meat into a very large chilled mixing bowl. Very evenly spread the mixture over the mincemeat and fold together. Try not to overmix as it won’t benefit the texture. 

The key with the large mixing bowl is to reduce the depth of the pile of mincemeat so that you don’t need to mix it as thoroughly to make it even.

Afterwards, cling film the bowl leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Adding More to Flavour Pasta – This is a trick used in many Italian kitchens and homes. Cook the pasta for a minute before al dente (or before you want it cooked) and drain. Add it to the pasta sauce and cook for a couple of minutes, mixing every so often until finished.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Meat is in Italian Sausage?

They are made with minced pork that has been marinaded with a range of spices and herbs. 

What Pastas Work Best with an Italian Sausage Pasta?

There is a wide range of pasta that is delicious with this recipe. My top choices are penne, rigatoni, tagliatelle and pappardelle. They all do an excellent job of picking up the sauce so that you can get a mouthful of both pasta and sauce.

Can I make this Recipe is a Slow Cooker?

Yes! Once you have bought the sauce to a gentle boil. Transfer it over to a slow cooker and leave it on low until you are ready to eat. It will only enhance with more slow cooking. Anytime from 3 to 10 hours is fine! If there is too much liquid, turn the slow cooker too high, take the lid off and leave to reduce.

More Italian Recipes You May Like…

Italian Sausage Pasta in a white bowl with parmesan

Italian Sausage Pasta

Jack Slobodian
This Italian sausage pasta is one of those recipes that shows you don’t need many ingredients to make something delicious. The flavours are simple, rich and meaty, with a moreish lightly spiced taste. Perfect for a family dinner.
4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5 People
Calories 870 kcal


  • 500 g Penne
  • 50 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 400 g Italian Sausage
  • 125 ml Dry White Wine or red wine
  • 500 ml Whole Milk
  • 500 g Passata
  • 1 bunch Flat Parsley finely sliced (Stalks removed and finely sliced)
  • Parmesan


  • Firstly, make sure the sausages are de-cased into a bowl. (Check Notes)
  • In a large pot or large deep sauté pan, sauté the onions over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until softened. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  • Turn up the heat to high and quickly add the Italian sausage mince. Now break up the mince with a wooden spoon and occasionally stir until any liquid has evaporated.
  • Turn down the heat to medium and add wine. Deglaze the pan (scrape any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan). Add milk and bring to a slight simmer for 10-15 minutes (this will to help tenderise the meat).
  • Add passata or tinned tomatoes and bring to a slight boil. Turn down to a simmer and add finely sliced parsley stalks and optionally chilli fakes. Leave to simmer for 1 hour gently.
  • Once the sauce is nearly ready, cook pasta in a generously salted pot of boiling water for 1 minute less than desired. Drain and add to the sauce and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve grated parmesan.


  • If you have Italian sausages, take off and dispose of the casing, then add the mincemeat into a large mixing bowl.
  • If you don’t have Italian sausages, it is best to use plain good quality sausages and make your spice mix. Take the casing off and place the mincemeat in a bowl. Add a spice mix of 1 bunch of sliced fresh parsley, 2tsp paprika, 1tsp cayenne pepper, 1/3 tsp crushed fennel seeds/ground fennel seeds, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 tsp mild chilli flakes (optional) and fold together.


Calories: 870kcalCarbohydrates: 93gProtein: 30gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 671mgPotassium: 1114mgFiber: 6gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1633IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 192mgIron: 5mg
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Recipe Rating

Wendy Beale

Saturday 2nd of December 2023

I can't wait to try this recipe.... can I freeze it?

Jack Slobodian

Saturday 2nd of December 2023

Hi Wendy, I'm glad to hear you're excited about trying this recipe.

Absolutely, you can freeze it. I find it best to freeze the ragu and pasta separately. Here's the way I usually do it: if you plan to freeze a portion, first fully cook the Italian sausage ragu. Then, set aside the portion you intend to freeze. Cook only the amount of pasta you'll eat immediately.

For reheating, simply thaw the ragu in the refrigerator overnight. Then, heat it up in a pan and boil some fresh pasta to go with it.

This method might take a bit more effort, but it ensures that the dish retains its quality far better than freezing everything together and reheating in a microwave.


Thursday 10th of November 2022

Can heavy cream be used in place of milk?

Jack Slobodian

Thursday 10th of November 2022

Hey @Wellington, heavy cream wouldn't have the same effect in the recipe as milk.

If you want to replace the milk with heavy cream, it's best to adjust the recipe.

Here's a recipe adjustment:

Swap 500ml of milk with 150ml of heavy cream and 150ml of stock/water (stock/water will stop the sauce from being overly thick: most will simmer out).

Skip • Skip the step that requires simmering the milk.

Additional • Add the stock/water with the passata and simmer for 1 hour. • After simmering the passata for 1 hour, mix in the heavy cream and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

I hope this helps, Jack

A Fox

Saturday 28th of May 2022

Hi, thank you for all your great recipes! This one has become a family favorite and I’m excited to try the other pastas

Jack Slobodian

Wednesday 7th of December 2022

Thank you A Fox for your kind words :)



Monday 16th of May 2022

Wow! Very tasty indeed! I was nervous about the milk but it worked perfectly with supermarket Italian sausages. Definitely going to be a regular.

Jack Slobodian

Monday 23rd of May 2022

Thanks Avril! Haha everyone always gets nervous about adding in the milk but it's super traditional so many Italian Ragù's :).


Wednesday 8th of July 2020

I saw this recipe and had to make it right away, and boy, is it good! So much amazing flavor and not a complicated recipe. A win win!


Thursday 9th of July 2020

I am glad you enjoyed it so much! :)