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Chicken Sausage Pasta

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.

Raw chicken sausage links. Simply slit sausage down one side and remove ground sausage.

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.

Chicken Sausage Pasta

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Carmen Course: Dinner
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes

This quick weeknight pasta combines bell peppers, chicken sausage, and fresh arugula for a look and taste straight out of a restaurant kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Pasta, medium shells

  • 1 lb Chicken sausage, ground

  • 1 Bell pepper, any color

  • 1/2 Onion

  • 1 cup Arugula (about 2 handfuls)

  • 1 8 oz can Tomato sauce

  • 1 cup Chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

  • 1/4 cup Dry white wine

  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil, divided

  • 2 Garlic cloves

  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon Salt

  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Place pot of salted water for pasta on to boil according to package directions.
  • In large skillet or saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium to medium-high flame. Add ground chicken sausage. Cook sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces and stirring as needed. Allow sausage to get some caramelized golden brown color. Once cooked, remove sausage from pan using slotted spoon and set aside, leaving any remaining oil and grease in pan.
  • While chicken sausage cooks, stem and de-seed bell pepper and dice. Peel and dice onion very fine. Peel and mince garlic cloves, or alternatively grate them with a microplane or put them through a garlic press.
  • Reduce flame to medium-low to medium and add reserved 1 tablespoon olive oil to remaining oil in skillet. Add diced onion to skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat if needed to prevent onion from charring.
  • Add diced bell pepper to pan with onion. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add minced garlic to pepper and onion mixture. Cook 30 seconds, stirring to prevent garlic from browning.
  • Deglaze pan with white wine, using liquid to stir and scrape up browned bits on bottom of pan.
  • Add tomato sauce, chicken stock, Italian seasoning, salt, and fresh ground black pepper to taste to onion/pepper mixture. Return sausage to skillet. Stir well and allow to come to gentle small bubble simmer. Cook sauce about 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop and combine, adjusting heat lower as needed to keep from boiling and over-reducing. (If sauce over-reduces, add 1/4-1/2 cup additional chicken stock to loosen it back up.) Taste sauce for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper, or Italian seasoning if needed for more flavor.
  • While sauce simmers, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. If package does not have al dente instructions, reduce cooking time by approximately 1-2 minutes. When pasta is cooked to just al dente, drain and immediately add to skillet.
  • Toss pasta in pasta sauce. Finish cooking pasta in sauce for 1-2 minutes, stirring well. Add grated parmesan and stir to combine. Fold in fresh arugula. Serve.

Notes

  • Any ground sausage can be used as substitute for chicken sausage. If using link sausage, recommend removing from casings or dicing very small.
  • Any dry pasta can be used in place of medium shells. Recommend using bite sized pasta like penne, elbow macaroni, or rigatoni.
  • Dry white wine can be replaced by combination of 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons additional chicken stock to deglaze.
  • Arugula can be replaced with any other tender dark leafy green, like baby spinach, or baby kale — recommend chopping greens to roughly bite size.
  • Onion and/or bell pepper can be omitted without substitution if you wish.
  • Parmesan cheese can be substituted with other aged Italian cheeses like Asiago or Pecorino.
Dry medium pasta shells.

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!

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