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Pasta with sausage and spinach is a quick and simple 30-minute recipe for a delicious homemade dinner — even on your busiest weeknights! With zesty Italian sausage, tender pasta, fresh greens, and plenty of garlic, lemon, wine, and Parmesan cheese, this is an easy meal that the whole family will love. Serve it with a side of garlic bread for the ultimate comfort food supper!

Overhead shot of a bowl of pasta with sausage and spinach on a wooden table
Table of Contents
  1. Pasta with Italian Sausage
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make Pasta with Sausage and Spinach
  4. What to Serve with this Sausage Pasta Recipe
  5. Storage
  6. Italian Sausage Pasta Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Pasta with Sausage and Spinach Recipe
  8. Pasta with Sausage and Spinach Recipe

Pasta with Italian Sausage

Crumbled Italian sausage adds so much flavor to this hearty pasta dinner. The easy recipe is a good option to have in your back pocket for those nights that you don’t have time to plan an elaborate meal. In about 30 minutes, you can stir together the satisfying and delicious supper complete with your favorite pasta shapes, sweet or spicy sausage, and nutritious fresh spinach.

Plus, don’t forget plenty of lemon juice, white wine, and garlic for depth, as well as freshly-grated Parmesan cheese for a rich, indulgent finish. You’ll feel like you’re dining in an Italian café — from the comfort of your own cozy kitchen!

Adding spinach to skillet with Italian sausage

Ingredients

Here’s a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for this pasta with sausage and spinach. As always, the exact measurements and specific cooking instructions are included in the recipe at the bottom of the post.

  • Small pasta shapes: penne pasta, bow tie, orecchiette, or medium shells will all work well.
  • Olive oil and butter: to brown the meat and add flavor to the sauce.
  • Italian sausage: buy bulk Italian sausage or remove the casings from links of pork sausages yourself. Sweet, mild, or spicy sausage will all work, so pick your favorite.
  • Garlic: adds flavor to the sauce.
  • Chicken broth: the base for the sauce.
  • White wine: pick a dry white wine that’s a good quality for drinking, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. For an alcohol-free substitute, use additional chicken broth instead.
  • Baby spinach leaves: mild greens that wilt almost instantly. You can substitute with fresh kale or Swiss chard, but you’ll need to allow a few extra minutes for those heartier greens to soften and cook.
  • Parmesan cheese: Use a wedge that you grate yourself for the best creamy, cheesy texture and maximum sharp flavor.
  • Lemon zest: a bright finishing touch.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: for a spicy kick, if you like.
Process shot showing how to make pasta with sausage

How to Make Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

This quick and easy weeknight meal is the perfect family-friendly recipe for your busiest days!

  1. Boil the pasta in salted water according to package directions, just until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, brown the sausage in butter and oil in a very large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the garlic.
  3. Pour in broth and wine to deglaze the pan. Simmer until the liquid reduces by about half, approximately 4 minutes.
  4. Fold in the spinach and toss gently, just until the greens start to wilt, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat.
  6. Stir in the cooked pasta, cheese, and lemon zest.
  7. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
  8. Serve immediately and garnish with additional Parmesan and fresh parsley, if desired!
Horizontal side shot of a bowl of pasta with Italian sausage and spinach

What to Serve with this Sausage Pasta Recipe

This cheesy pasta with sausage and spinach is really a complete meal on its own — no sides necessary! That said, if you’d like to round out your dinner with some additional options, here are a few easy ideas that go well with the pasta dish:

Square overhead shot of a bowl of pasta with sausage and spinach

Storage

Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I do not recommend freezing the pasta, since pasta tends to get mushy when thawed.

To reheat the pasta, place in a saucepan or skillet, cover, and warm over low heat just until the dish reaches the desired temperature. Add extra broth to moisten the pasta, if necessary. Be careful not to boil or reheat it for too long, or the pasta will get mushy. You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave.

Front shot of pasta with sausage on a dinner table with salad and bread

Italian Sausage Pasta Recipe Variations

  • Any small pasta shape will work. I’ve shown “medium shells” here, which are great because they soak up and hold onto the sausage and sauce in a really nice way. Other good options include penne, orecchiette, or bow tie pasta.
  • Use kale or Swiss chard instead of spinach. The heartier leafy greens will require longer to soften and cook, so cover the pot for a few minutes and let them steam.
  • Any variety of Italian sausage will work. I typically use sweet Italian sausage because that’s my kids’ preference. Hot or spicy Italian sausage is also delicious, or try turkey Italian sausage.
  • Add a can of drained, petite-diced tomatoes or a can of drained, rinsed white beans.
  • Sautéed sliced mushrooms would be a nice addition to the pasta as well.
  • Fresh herbs will add great flavor! Try basil, parsley, thyme or oregano.
  • Add a bit of heavy cream at the end for a rich, creamy sauce.
Close overhead image of pasta with Italian sausage and spinach on a table with salad and bread

Tips for the Best Pasta with Sausage and Spinach Recipe

  • Use a very large skillet (like my 14-inch cast iron pan) or a Dutch oven so that you have plenty of room to toss all of the pasta, sauce, and other ingredients.
  • Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese is best for flavor and texture, but in a pinch you can substitute with a can of powdered, pre-grated Parmesan.
  • Reserve some of the pasta water and use this to thin the sauce and add moisture to the finished dish, if desired.
  • Use a high-quality dry white wine that you would actually like to drink. Good options include Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
  • When zesting the lemon, be careful that you only scrape off the thin outer layer of the fruit. You don’t want any of the bitter white pith in your dish.
  • If you’re cooking for a smaller family, cut all of the ingredients in half. This recipe makes a very large portion!
Close up side shot of pasta with Italian sausage and spinach on a table

More Easy Recipes with Italian Sausage

Sausage Pasta {a 30 Minute Meal!}

25 mins

Italian Sausage Crescent Roll Casserole

40 mins

Italian Sausage and Peppers

50 mins

Square overhead shot of a bowl of pasta with sausage and spinach

Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

5 from 10 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 people
Calories 490 kcal
Pasta with Sausage and Spinach is a quick and simple 30-minute recipe for a delicious homemade dinner — even on your busiest weeknights!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. dried medium shells, penne, orecchiette, or bow tie pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup white wine (or sub with additional chicken broth)
  • 10 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven or very large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the large chunks with a wooden spoon – about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Pour in the broth and wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let it bubble, then simmer until the liquid reduces by at least half, about 4 minutes.
  • Fold in the spinach and toss gently, just until the spinach starts to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir in the cooked pasta, cheese, and lemon zest. Taste and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately and garnish with additional cheese and/or parsley.

Notes

  • Use a very large skillet (like my 14-inch cast iron pan) or a Dutch oven so that you have plenty of room to toss all of the pasta, sauce, and other ingredients.
  • Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese is best for flavor and texture, but in a pinch you can substitute with a can of powdered, pre-grated Parmesan.
  • Reserve some of the pasta water and use this to thin the sauce and add moisture to the finished dish, if desired.
  • Use a high-quality dry white wine that you would actually like to drink. Good options include Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
  • When zesting the lemon, be careful that you only scrape off the thin outer layer of the fruit. You don’t want any of the bitter white pith in your dish.
  • If you’re cooking for a smaller family, cut all of the ingredients in half. This recipe makes a very large portion!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the recipeCalories: 490kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 20gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 683mgPotassium: 502mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 3448IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 162mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: Italian Sausage Pasta, pasta with sausage and spinach
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in January, 2021. The photos were updated in January, 2023.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    would it take away much taste by using pre cooked sausage in casings. i purchase these at italian deli in area when in hurry. they are great as they are fresh made there.( just being lazy)

  2. 5 stars
    spectacular
    we used veggie sausage and frozen spinach thawed in the mic. added a little fennel seed on account of the faux sausage, and lemon pepper and juice subbed in for lemon zest, with only 3/4 lb of pasta.
    fast to come together and restaurant quality delicious

    1. Thank you, K! I’m so glad to know that you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming back here to share your tweaks, too. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! I added a bit more garlic, just because, and it was super tasty. My husband loved it, and he is not much of a “pasta” guy. It is a simple but delicious recipe. Thank you, Blair!

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! I used sausage stuffed with spinach and feta cheese and added cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. My husband loved it which is saying a lot because he is usually not a fan of pasta dishes.

      1. 5 stars
        Just made this recipe and it turned out fantastic. Only thing I will change is to follow the ingredient list closer. I picked up a tub of spinach and realized too late that it was only 5 oz. Definitely will use the recommended 10 oz next time. Also used vegetarian sausage and it turned out great. Thank you and I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  5. The meal was too salty because the recipe did not require draining the meat. In addition to that I used unsalted butter, so just imagine. After being in the fridge you can see all the fat solid. I was wondering if you drain the meat will it take away from the flavor…probably so. Other than that it was tasty.

  6. 5 stars
    This is a keeper. You are right, I cut everything down, and it was still a lot of food. I added white beans and mushrooms. I wouldn’t skip the lemon zest. It made the dish! I used locally made chicken sausage. Excellent supper!

  7. 5 stars
    I just made this tonight and my husband and I absolutely loved it! It was quick, easy so delicious. I had hot Italian sausages that I removed from the casings and I did add a touch of light cream at the end. My husband said it was so good, like something you’d order in a restaurant. I’ll definitely make it again!