Tomato Basil Pasta with Italian Sausage is an easy and delicious dinner made with al dente pasta, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and seasonings with Italian sausage. This dish offers a delightful combination of tender pasta, savory Italian sausage, and the vibrant flavors of garlic, tomatoes, basil, and spices. I also have an Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup you will love!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Pasta: Cavatappi noodles are perfect for a dish like this one. But, any tubular pasta is a good choice to hold all of the delicious sauce. Or, make your own homemade shaped noodles to use. Be sure to reserve a cup of pasta water to use in the sauce.
Italian Sausage: I used mild Italian sausage in this recipe. You could substitute ground pork sausage, ground turkey, ground chicken, or even bratwurst. Substitutions may change the flavor profile of the dish, so you may have to adjust seasonings as needed.
Tomatoes: The star of tomato basil pasta is the cherry tomatoes. They add a burst of sweetness and vibrant color. You could substitute Roma or beefsteak tomatoes as well. However, different tomatoes may vary in taste, texture, and water content, which could affect the result of the dish. Tomato paste is also used to intensify the tomato flavor.
Basil Leaves: You will need about 10 basil leaves to chop up to 1/4 cup. If you only have dried basil on hand, you will only need a little over a tablespoon.
Red Pepper Flakes: If you prefer, leave out the red pepper flakes. However, I actually like to add a bit more for a little kick to the dish.
Why Reserve Pasta Water?
Reserving pasta water for recipes like this one, as well as my Vodka Sauce, Spicy Gnocchi Bread Bowl, and Asiago Pasta is important. The pasta water adds flavor and helps bind the sauce and noodles together, ensuring a full-flavored taste in every bite!
Variations To Tomato Basil Pasta
Although this dish is delicious on its own, you can also add ingredients to customize it. Here are some ideas to try:
- Vegetables: Add extra color and texture by adding bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, or zucchini.
- Onions: Sauteed onions can add a savory and sweet note to the dish. Cook them with ground sausage.
- Heavy Cream: For a creamier sauce, incorporate a small amount of heavy cream or half-and-half to the dish.
How To Store Tomato Basil Pasta With Italian Sausage
Once cooked, let the pasta cool before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to 3-4 days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Tomato Basil Pasta with Italian Sausage
- 8 ounces cavatappi noodles
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage, mild
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, about 10 leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, draining the rest. Set the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook Italian sausage until browned (8-10 minutes). Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil (reserving some for garnish), salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup of reserved pasta water to the skillet. Stir well to combine.
- Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the tomatoes to release some of their natural juices.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss well to coat the pasta evenly. (Add more pasta water if needed to reach your desired consistency.)
- Serve garnished with parmesan cheese and reserved basil.
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
I'm a total sucker for pasta. I really liked this one. After some testing with different proteins, we landed on Italian sausage. It really complements the tomato basil flavor. There is a tiny kick from the red pepper, and the fresh tomatoes give it a burst of fresh flavor. This would be perfect for an easy weeknight meal.
This is such an easy dish to prepare, but it is so flavorful! I love the Italian sausage and how it complements the tomato basil pasta. Yum! It's perfect to prepare on any night, but quick enough to get ready on a busy evening.
We first tried this pasta with chicken, but the Italian sausage really stood out! The sausage absorbs the taste of the sauce very well. The sauce is bursting with flavor from all of the fresh ingredients! The cavatappi noodles are a great touch because they are appealing and fun to eat!
I love this super, easy, quick and flavorful dish! It would make a great weeknight dinner for your family. I especially like the burst of flavor from the cherry tomatoes!
This is such a yummy pasta dish. The mild Italian sausage matches the fresh tomatoes so perfectly. I don't always love chunks of tomatoes, but these cherry tomatoes are so bright and delicious! Ten out of ten dish.