Sausage Pepper Pasta

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This simple sausage pepper pasta is easy to prepare with just 7 ingredients and 30 minutes. Fresh peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, and sausage combine to make a lightly sauced pasta dinner that kids and adults will both enjoy.

a white bowl of ziti pasta tossed with cooked bell pepper and link sausage.

As much as I hate to admit it, having kids changed how I cook. In the interest of family peace and happy, full bellies, I keep my experimenting to the types of dishes I know will get smiles when my boys come to the dinner table. Pasta is one of those always favorites. From lemon broccoli pasta to one pot spinach tomato pasta, it’s always a blissful dinner free of complaints

This sausage pepper pasta was also an immediate hit. Plates were cleared, and since then, it’s become a regular dinner dish, especially in the summer when bell peppers are at their best. It’s a 30-minute meal that your whole family can enjoy.

Recipe Highlights

  • 30-minute meal – This is truly a complete meal, with protein, grains, and fresh produce, all cooked in just 30 minutes.
  • Easy to Customize – Your choice of sausage will define the final flavor of the pasta, which means you can make it exactly how your family likes it.
  • Kid-Friendly – The light olive oil sauce and cut-up sausage make this an accessible dinner that won’t intimidate picky eaters.

Ingredients and Substitutions

There are 7 ingredients you’ll need to collect to make a simple, fresh pasta dinner for your family. The beginnings of a flavorful final dish start with choosing ingredients you’ll love.

A cast iron pan with two fresh bell peppers, dried ziit pasta, an onion, and a package of sausage inside it.
  • Sausage – You’ll need one 12-ounce package of link-style sausage. Fully cooked sausages speed up this recipe, but you can certainly use any kind you like.
  • Bell Peppers – I prefer one red and one orange for color, but any combination of two bell peppers can be used.
  • Onion – Yellow or sweet onions are best.
  • Garlic – Use fresh or roasted garlic.
  • Olive oil – This is the base of the sauce. I recommend using a good-quality oil with a flavor you like. Extra virgin olive oil is ideal.
  • Pasta – Use any dried pasta your family likes, from spaghetti to ziti to bowtie; it all works.
  • Salt – You’ll need enough to salt the pasta water and to adjust the seasoning in the final dish.

A Note on Choosing Sausage

We prefer chicken sausage for this recipe. My kids love the garlic and herb ones I find at Trader Joe’s. However, the flavors in this recipe can work with TONS of options. Mild or Spicy Italian sausage, Linguica, chicken or pork sausage are all great options. However, I do not recommend sweet breakfast-style sausages, hot dogs, or ground sausage. If you choose one with high fat content, reduce the oil by half at all steps.

Step by Step Instructions

To start cooking you’ll need a large skillet with high sides. I recommend cast iron or stainless steel for good browning. You’ll also need a large pot of water to cook the pasta.

a cast iron skillet with sausage browning in it.

Step 1 – Cook Sausage and Pasta

Start by adding a healthy handful of salt to the pot of water and covering it over high heat. Bring it to a rapid boil. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Chop your sausage, peel and dice the peppers and onion, and mince the garlic.

Add the pasta to the salted boiling water and the sausage to the cast iron pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let the sausage brown for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pro Tip: Did you know that peeling a bell pepper reduces bitterness and makes it silky, soft, and tender when cooked? Use a potato peeler to remove as much as possible, then dice as usual.

a pan of sausage and peppers cooked together.

Step 2: Cook the peppers and onion

Once the sausage has browned, add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Sauté, stirring often, until the peppers are tender and the onions are translucent. This takes 5-8 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil if the pan appears dry – different sausages will have different fat levels and can affect this.

When your pasta is tender, use a heat-safe cup to reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Then drain the pasta and set it aside.

A cast iron pan of pasta, sausage, and bell peppers cooked together.

Step 3: Combine and Season

Add the drained pasta, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pan when the peppers are tender. Toss and stir gently over medium-high heat. The water will boil and reduce, leaving you with a silky light oil sauce. Add more pasta water if the pasta appears dry.

Taste the pasta and add a pinch of salt if necessary. Serve hot with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or fresh parsley as desired.

a white bowl of pasta with sausage and peppers.

FAQs

Can I use roasted red peppers instead?

Yes, you’ll need one whole jar, drained and diced. Cook the onion with the sausage until tender, then add in the chopped roasted red peppers and garlic in the last 1-2 minutes before you’re ready to add the pasta.

Can I use any type of sausage?

Yes, we’ve tried sausage pepper pasta with many types of sausage. All common dinner link-style sausages have been very good. The ones you choose will create that flavor in the overall pasta dish, so choose one your family likes.

I haven’t tried it with ground sausage, but I suspect you’d need to reduce the oil by a lot. Breakfast sausage is not recommended.

I hope you’ll enjoy this easy 30-minute pepper and sausage pasta recipe. It’s a mainstay in our home because I can use those fresh summer bell peppers I love and make a wholesome, complete meal with basic ingredients, but my kids will also enjoy dinner.

Love this recipe? Please consider leaving a 5 star rating in the recipe card below, or a comment to share your experience with fellow home cooks. I hope you enjoy and as always, Happy Eating!

a bowl of pepper and sausage pasta.

Sausage Pepper Pasta

Mikayla M.
A 30-minute pasta dinner recipe using fresh summer bell peppers, link sausage, onion, pasta, and olive oil to create a wholesome, family-friendly meal.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 611 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 12 ounces link-style sausage We like chicken sausage, and use about 4 links.
  • 2 bell peppers any color
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced about 1/2 an onion
  • 1.5 tablespoons minced garlic 3 cloves
  • 1 pound dried pasta 1 package
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Add all but 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add past to cook when boiling.
  • Heat a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Slice each sausage in half, then cut each half into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil and the sausage to the hot skillet. Let the sausage brown for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Peel and seed your peppers, then dice them. Dice the onion and finely mince your garlic.
  • Add it to the sausage with 1 additional tablespoon of oil if the pan is dry. Sauté for 5-8 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
  • Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and add it to the peppers and sausage.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of pasta water and 2 additional tablespoons of oil into the pan and stir over medium-high heat. Stir and toss until the water and oil had reduced into a sauce. Add more water in splashes if the pasta appears dry.
  • Taste, add reserved salt in small pinches if needed, then serve.

Notes

-Use any kind of link style sausage you like. Most dinner type sausage compliment peppers. The sausage will determine the final flavor, so choose one your family likes.
-Swap 1 jar of drained and chopped roasted red peppers by adding it in just 2 minutes before the pasta.
-Peeling peppers reduces bitterness and makes them extra tender when cooked. Use a potato peeler to take as much as you can off.

Nutrition

Calories: 611kcalCarbohydrates: 93gProtein: 16gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 3500mgPotassium: 450mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1864IUVitamin C: 80mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 2mg
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Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.

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