Try this Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta Recipe when you need a quick, delicious, flavorful meal! This easy skillet Italian pasta is a family favorite!

Penne with a Quick Sausage Sauce is one of our go-to pasta dishes. Made with staples found in our kitchen, all that needs to be purchased is a red onion and fresh rosemary. In less than an hour, this gourmet pasta is on the table!

Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta in a white serving dish.

Why You Must Make

  • It’s ready in less than an hour.
  • Plus, it’s delicious enough to make for company. I’ve served it for a dinner party!
  • Simple, easy-to-find ingredients come together for a dinner the whole family will love.

This easy skillet Italian pasta with sausage, tomatoes, and rosemary can be put together in about 45 minutes. The onions and sausage are sauteed, then rosemary, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, and tomatoes are added. Finally, cream and Parmesan cheese complete the sauce. Besides cooking the pasta, this whole dish is made in one skillet! So flavorful and delicious.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Olive Oil, Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper, Bay Leaves
  • Red Onion – Diced
  • Italian Sausages – I use mild, but spicy sausages are an option, too. Remove the casings if you buy links.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – Adjust to make more or less spicy.
  • Can of Plum Tomatoes – Large 28-ounce can, drained well
  • Penne Rigate – This is a tube-shaped pasta with ridges (AKA rigate). May also use bow-tie pasta.
  • Heavy Cream – 36% Milkfat. Helps make a creamy sauce.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – Should be real Parmesano-Reggianno. Never use the green can off the grocery shelves.
Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta in a white casserole dish garnished with rosemary.

Expert Tips

Do you ever buy a cookbook for one recipe? It was the “Penne with a Quick Sausage Sauce” or Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta that enticed me into purchasing (affiliate link) Rogers Gray Italian Country Cook Book. It was certainly worth the price with the number of times this easy skillet pasta is on our menu.

  • With a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, Bill declared this dish was “spicy,” but still managed to eat a generous serving! Even Katie, my pickiest taste tester, is a fan. I just find a pile of sausage left on her plate.
  • Feel free to add more or less red pepper flakes to suit your palate. If you love spicy, consider using spicy Italian sausages instead of mild.
  • I love this recipe with penne rigate pasta (to catch more of the sauce!), but if you don’t have any on hand, use your favorite pasta shape. I accidentally grabbed a box of bow ties once, and that shape worked perfectly. 
  • As mentioned above, make sure to cook your pasta in salted water (and don’t add the salt until the water boils).
  • When it comes to canned tomatoes, I love San Marzano plum tomatoes. Check the labels as these are now readily available.

I’ve made ravioli and lasagna sheets from scratch, but love having easy skillet pasta recipes. It’s fabulous enough to serve at a dinner party (and I have), but typically this is a quick weeknight dinner.

This pasta recipe is creamy, spicy, and simply delish. I hope you’ll love this Easy Italian Skillet Pasta as much as we do. Note that even Miss Lambeau (circa 2011) approves.

Overhead view of Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta with a sprig of rosemary in a white serving bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Penne?

The first time I mentioned penne in reference to dinner, my husband thought I was talking about fish. Nope, penne is a type of tubular pasta that can be smooth or ridged. The diagonally cut tubes are called penne rigate when they have ridged sides as seen in the second photo.

What is the Best Way to Cook Pasta?

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it’s boiling, add enough salt to make the water taste like seawater. This is key. Adding salt to the pasta after it’s cooked will not infuse salt into the pasta. The water must be salted.
Cook until the pasta is al dente or to the tooth, meaning it offers some resistance when bitten into, not overly soft or mushy. Most pasta labels will give you a range of times for cooking pasta al dente.
Note: Do not add the salt until the water is boiling as salted water has a lower boiling temperature and the suggested cooking times will be off.

What Are San Marzano Tomatoes?

San Marzano tomatoes are a type of Roma tomatoes that were first grown near the small Italian town of San Marzano, near Naples, Italy. They flourished in the volcanic soil around Mt. Vesuvius.
They are thinner than ordinary Roma or plum tomatoes, with more flesh, fewer seeds, and are sweeter and less acidic.

Lambeau loves this easy Italian Skillet Pasta!

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Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta with a sprig of rosemary in a white serving bowl

Penne with Sausage and Tomatoes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 6 servings

An easy pasta recipe with sausage, tomatoes and a cream sauce


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 4-5 Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained well
  • 1 pound penne rigate or bow tie pasta
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion in olive oil till soft.
  2. Add sausage and cook while breaking apart sausage into small pieces.
  3. Add rosemary, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes and cook till sausage is browned. Remove any excess fat.
  4. Add tomatoes, breaking these apart into small pieces with a spatula.
  5. Cook pasta in salted water. Drain and add to the sausage mixture.
  6. Add cream and Parmesan and toss well.
  7. Check for seasonings and add salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Serve with additional Parmesan if desired.


Adapted from Rogers Gray Italian Country Cookbook

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 560Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 679mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 22g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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