One of my favorite weeknight dinner recipes is this Chicken Sausage Penne Pasta. This dish is bursting with flavor and is ready to eat in just 15 minutes!
Bite size pieces of chicken sausage cooked in a seasoned pasta sauce. Then cooked penne pasta is added to the meat sauce mixture and tossed until well coated.
Add a little Parmesan cheese and baby spinach leaves are stir until the spinach is nice and wilted. Finally, the mixture is topped with an Italian cheese blend which takes this dish over the top with flavor!
But what I really love about this recipe that it comes together in a matter of minutes. In fact, from start to finish this meal is on the table in 15 minutes! And it could be even quicker if the pasta is cooked ahead of time.
I am sure that you will love this recipe as much as I do, and it will be added to your menu rotation as soon as you take the first bite!
Chicken Sausage Penne Pasta
*A printable recipe card is located at the bottom of this article which contains the specific measurements, temperatures and cook times. However, continue reading below to learn about more helpful tips about this specific recipe.
- Penne pasta
- Olive oil
- Diced onion
- Diced red, yellow or orange bell pepper
- Chicken sausage – full, brat size links, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Clove of garlic, minced
- Pasta sauce
- Parmesan cheese
- Baby spinach
- Shredded Italian cheese blend
- Chopped parsley, to garnish
More About Some Of The Ingredients
1. Penne Pasta
Penne pasta is a very common cut of pasta that can be found at most grocery stores. It is the perfect pasta for this recipe because the noodles have ridges on the outer surface.
These ridges help the sauce adhere and stick to the noodles. Not to mention, the angled cuts on the end of the noodles scoop up the sauce as well.
However, if you don’t have penne pasta on hand, you can use other types of noodles to make this dish. Rotini or Fusilli are good choices because the iconic spirals will scoop up the sauce perfectly.
Although you could also use ziti or farfalle (bow-tie) pasta as well. Just steer away from long flat noodles like spaghetti, egg noodles and fettuccine.
2. Chicken Sausage
When it comes to what type of chicken sausage is best to use in this recipe, I recommend the full-size, bratwurst size sausages. Not the smaller, breakfast sausage links.
You can find chicken sausage in the refrigerated meat section at the grocery store. They are typically stocked next to the pork sausages and bratwurst.
They come in a package with 5-6 links and are sold as unseasoned chicken sausage, sweet Italian, or Hot Italian. You can use whatever you prefer.
You can also substitute pork or turkey sausage as well. The key here is to use sausage that are in casings, not ground sausage.
3. Pasta Sauce
Use your favorite pasta sauce for this Chicken Sausage Penne Pasta recipe. I enjoy RAO’s pasta sauce because they it is lower in sugar than a lot of other varieties.
However, you can use whatever pasta or even a marinara sauce that you have on hand. The additional ingredients in some of the sauces, such as mushrooms or cheese, would compliment this dish very well.
The preferred cheese in this recipe is shredded Italian blend. This is a pre-packaged mixture of Mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone, Asiago and/or Romano cheeses.
It is easy to find at most grocery stores and is stocked in 8 ounce or 16 ounce bags next to the other shredded cheese varieties.
However, if you are at home and about to make this recipe and have Mozzarella cheese on hand, by all means use it! Then sprinkle a little Parmesan on the top and you are good to go!
Now that we have all the ingredients and/or substitutions ready to go, it is time to start making this Chicken Sausage Penne Pasta recipe.
In a medium stock pot bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Season the water generously with salt.
When the water comes to a full boil add the penne pasta and cook until a’l dente consistency, approximately 9-11 minutes. Because all pasta brands are different, be sure to read the instructions on the box for the exact cook time for al’ dente consistency.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or electric skillet. Then using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the sausage into 1/2 inch round pieces, leaving the casing around each piece.
Once the skillet gets hot, add the diced onion, diced sweet bell pepper and sausage pieces. Cook until the sausage is just cooked through.
Then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 additional minute or until the garlic is fragrant. However, don’t leave it cooking for more than one minute as it may begin to burn and therefore, become bitter tasting.
Season the Sauce
Next, pour the pasta sauce in the skillet and stir. Heat the pasta sauce for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Then stir in the Parmesan cheese and baby spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted, which will take another 3-4 minutes.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the noodles so that most of the liquid has been drained. It is okay if some of the noodles still have a little pasta water inside the holes as it will help the sauce adhere to the pasta. Give the mixture a stir until the pasta is coated in the sauce.
Then sprinkle the Italian cheese blend on top and cover the skillet with a lid until the cheese melts. Serve warm with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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- 4 ounces penne pasta
- 3/4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup diced red, yellow or orange bell pepper
- 1/2 pound chicken sausage full, brat size links, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 1/2 cups baby spinach
- 3/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
- Chopped parsley, to garnish
- In a stock pot bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Season with salt. When the water comes to a full boil add the penne pasta and cook until al dente consistency, approximately 9-11 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or electric skillet. Once hot, add the diced onion, diced sweet bell pepper and sausage pieces. Cook until the sausage is just cooked through. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Add the pasta sauce and stir. Heat the pasta sauce for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese and baby spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted, 3-4 minutes.
- Drain cooked pasta sauce and add it to the skillet. Stir and coat the pasta with the sauce.
- Sprinkle the Italian blend cheese on top and cover the skillet with a lid until the cheese melts.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
You can use mild or hot sausage. For additional heat, add a few hot pepper flakes to the pasta sauce.
Can substitute shredded Mozzarella cheese for the shredded Italian cheese blend.
Recipe provided by Make Your Meals
Nutrition InformationYield 4
Amount Per Serving Calories 469Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 106mgSodium 1319mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 29g
Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.