I cannot hide my love for this dairy-free quick Italian sausage and pasta dinner because let’s be real — everyone loves Italian sausage and pasta. Combine them with some red onion and basil pesto and you’ve got yourself a treat! Italian sausage plus pasta equals a crowd-pleaser. It’s also a wonderful solution for those picky-eaters. Somehow, they never refuse pasta.
Quick Italian sausage and pasta dinner is one of my family’s favorites and I even shared it with Eazy Peazy Mealz’s readers a couple of months ago. I am telling you, this one is a keeper. For this recipe I used my sweet homemade Italian sausage but a store-bought sausage will do it, too.
The best part about this recipe is that it reheats nicely and it could even be made ahead of time. If making ahead of time, save additional 1/2 cup of pasta water to mix with pasta before reheating. It will help loosen up pasta.
Caramelized red onions and toasted fennel seeds work together to create a bright flavor while pasta water combined with basil pesto thickens up in a delicious sauce. Pair all that flavor with crumbled Italian sausage and pasta and you’ve got a satisfying dish perfect for a delightful week night dinner.
To Make Quick Italian Sausage and Pasta Dinner, You Will Need:
- Large Stockpot with Cover and a colander
- Large skillet
- Fork, spoon, wooden spatula, small bowl
- Measuring spoons and cups
- 2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp freshly grounded black pepper
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lb pasta of your choice
- 2 tbsp basil pesto
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on packaging.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet (12-inch works great) over medium-high heat. Toss in the fennel seeds and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and sauté it until it softens , about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the sausage and crumble it with a fork. Brown it until it loses the raw red color and starts browning, creating brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Season with black pepper. Lower the heat on the skillet and let the sausage cook on low heat until the pasta is ready. Stir occasionally.
- Drain the pasta while reserving cooking water. Dissolve 1 tbsp of basil pesto in ½ cup of pasta water. Add the dissolved basil pesto to the skillet while scrapping off any brown bits of the bottom of the skillet. Dissolve the rest of the basil pesto with additional ½ cup of pasta water and add to the skillet. Toss the pasta with the sausage and sauce. Taste for salt (please, see the note). If needed, add a few tablespoons of pasta water to create more sauce.
- Serve hot garnished with fresh basil and cheese if you'd like.
This recipe reheats nicely and it could be made ahead of time. If making ahead of time, save additional ½ cup of pasta water to mix with pasta before reheating.