Chicken Sausage Pasta is a weeknight dream meal. It looks sophisticated — and tastes that way, too — but it’s actually a fairly quick and easy dish to make. Simply boil some pasta, saute some sausage and vegetables, pour on some stock and tomato sauce and you’ve got a gorgeous meal in less than the time it would take to whip up some chicken nuggets and mac & cheese.
Sausage makes an excellent base for a quick pasta sauce. It’s packed with flavor and plenty of fat and protein to make a meal really filling. To make things a bit healthier, I use ground chicken sausage. I have also made it with Italian flavored ground chicken sausage which is very tasty. Really, any sort of sausage can work in this dish. If I make this dish with ground pork sausage, I omit the olive oil as pork sausage has more than enough fat to cook itself and the onions and peppers as well. Sausage links can be used, but I recommend removing the casings so you can break the ground sausage up into small bits that distribute well throughout the dish. To remove raw sausage from its casing, I just slit one side of the casing lengthwise with a steak knife and squeeze or pop the ground sausage out. Pre-cooked link sausage can be used for this dish, but I recommend dicing it up into small pieces.
I like making my own tomato sauce for a pasta like this, but if you have a jarred pre-made tomato-based pasta sauce you prefer, you could certainly sub it in for the tomato sauce and Italian seasonings here. Pre-made pasta sauces are often a bit sweet for my taste, but I know many people have a favorite go-to pasta sauce. If you use a pre-made sauce, you can probably reduce the simmering time to just five minutes as you won’t need as long for the flavors in the sauce to combine.
This dish works really well with medium pasta shells. I love the way little bits of onion, pepper, and sausage nestle into the shells, and the thin, acidic sauce clings really well to the shell shape. If you prefer a different dry pasta, that’s just fine. I think this dish will work with any dry pasta, although I like the more bite-sized varieties like penne, rigatoni, macaroni, or even rotini. I do think this sauce would work well with longer pasta like linguine or spaghetti as well. Don’t be afraid to experiment, after all, any dish you make should suit your tastes best!