Italian Sausage Spaghetti

My parents have been making spaghetti this way for several years, ever since first learning about this method from watching a Martha Stewart program. Martha apparently got it from some famous chef in New York City. The beauty of this spaghetti recipe is that it is very easy to make and you don’t have to add any seasoning to achieve wonderful flavor. The sauce gets all of its seasoning from two Italian sausages – one sweet, one spicy.

Italian Sausage Spaghetti on Simply Recipes

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

This spaghetti recipe is light on the sauce, which is more typical of how spaghetti is actually served in Italy. If you would like more sauce, you may want to thin it with water, or add more canned tomatoes to the sauce.



  • 1 large (7 to 8 inch link) Italian sweet sausage
  • 1 large Italian hot and spicy sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 large (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb (16 oz) spaghetti pasta
  • Salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese


The Sauce:
Take the Italian sausage meat out of the sausage casings. Break up into pieces and mix the sweet and spicy sausage meats together. Brown the sausage meat in a large skillet on medium high or high heat with a little olive oil. In a separate skillet sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Purée the tomatoes in a blender, add to the skillet with the sausage meat. Add the cooked onions and garlic.

The Pasta
Fill an 8-quart or larger stock pot at least half full with water and bring to a rolling boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Slowly add the pasta, stirring to prevent clumping. Allow the water to come to a rolling boil again. Cook, uncovered, with a fairly vigorous boil, for as long as the directions on the pasta package say, usually about 10-12 minutes. When pasta is al dente (cooked but still a little firm), remove the pot from the heat. Add a cup or two of cold water to the pasta to stop the cooking. Drain the water from the pasta through a colander. Place the pasta in a serving bowl.

Serve immediately. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.


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Italian Sausage Spaghetti on Simply Recipes


  1. Anonymous

    Can you make this recipe with turkey sausage?

    Note from Elise: Perhaps. We’ve never done it. I think turkey sausage tends to be leaner than Italian sausage, so you might need to add a little fat (olive oil) back in to have this work well.

  2. Richard

    I do mine a little different. I only use hot sausage, leave the casings on, cut the sausage into largish chunks, pour a bottle of hard cider (such as Woodchuck or Hornsby’s)in the pan, and brown the sausage in the cider until it cooks off pretty much entirely. This gives the sausage pieces a wonderful sweet glaze so that it both sweet and hot with each bite.

  3. Joel Varley

    I’m sure you can use turkey or whatever kind of sausage you like. On a separate note from the pasta, I grilled a spicy turkey sausage the other day and it was just as flavorful as regular sausage, and a bit leaner too…so it should work perfectly fine, either cooked in sausage form or perhaps decased and crumbled like in the recipe.

  4. Kristi

    I have made sauce for pasta/lasagna using this technique but substituting hot and sweet Italian turkey sausage for standard sausage. The results were fantastic – go for it!

  5. Elena Crossman

    My question . . . what is the merit to cooking the onion and garlic separately and then adding it to the meat and the sauce. A more conventional route, and simpler, would be to start with simmering the onion and garlic in the oil till fragrant and then adding the sausage meat to cook and then to the same pan the tomato.

    Any thoughts on this? Since it’s from Martha Stewart in origin I’m inclined to guess there’s a good reason for the way it’s done here.

  6. Elise

    Hi Elena,
    You need to brown the meat first on fairly high heat. At this heat, you would end up browning or even burning the onion and garlic. You could cook the onions and garlic first, remove them from the pan, add the sausage, turn up the heat, brown the meat, add back the onions, garlic and tomato, but this would take longer. If you have them both cooking at the same time, you are saving time.

  7. mj

    Hi Elise- I’ve made this sauce before and it’s just great. Once again, you’ve given us a simple, luscious recipe. Hurrah! Just the kind I adore.

  8. Noel

    A really nice recipe that my husband always likes. He is a big fan of italian sausage. Last night, I made this but I added chopped red bell peppers to the onion sautee, increased the garlic, used tomato sause and doubled the sausage. I didn’t break up the sausage completely, I left some big chunks of it so they were a little like mini meatballs throughout the sause.

  9. Anna

    This was so delicious! Smart idea using half hot/spicy, half sweet. I would normally just put sweet! Thanks for everything!

  10. Jan

    Hi Elise,

    I just walked in the door from work, to a ringing telephone. It seems my husbands’ children are coming for dinner after all. So at first I panicked, but then I remembered Simply Recipes. In particular this recipe. An luckily I had all the ingredients since I purchased extra sausage and froze it the last time I used your recipe. Elise to the rescue again.

    I use your site many more times than I say thank you.

    So a very big thanks for saving the day,


  11. nancy

    Not sure how large the sausages you are talking about are…approx how many ounces??

  12. Manley

    Hi Elise,

    With the hot weather really in force for the first time this year here in the East, I decided to try this recipe tonight to avoid cranking up the oven. I’m so glad I did because it was delicious. I didn’t bother to puree the tomatoes but that didn’t seem to affect the quality of the sauce at all. This recipe will definitely go into our regular summer rotation.

    Best regards,


  13. karen parent

    This was amazing, my family does not
    usually like anything new. I tripled the
    recipe and thier was hardly any left for me,
    by the time I served myself, everyone wanted
    seconds. Thanks for something new!

  14. lori

    Can you make this recipe with chicken sausage?

    Note from Elise: Many people (see comments above) have made this successfully with turkey sausage. I can’t see how chicken sausage would be that different.

  15. Shannon

    Really, really yummy, and dead easy. Definitely a keeper!

  16. Jen

    What a great easy weeknight meal. I have 3 hungry little boys running around while I make dinner. With its ease of preparation and great flavors, this pleases all of us! Thanks, Elise! (BTW, I skipped using separate pans for the sausage and onions. Just added the onions and garlic when the meat was just about done, and it turned out fine.)

  17. Susan A

    Simply delicious! I’ve made this several times using turkey sausage (1/2 hot, 1/2 sweet) and Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes over linguini.

  18. Chris

    No peppers?

    No, but feel free to add some if you want. ~Elise

  19. Michelle

    I love making pasta dishes with sweet italian sausages…but I use the ground kind. It is cheaper at my store and much easier. Thanks for a great, easy recipe!!

  20. billy


    Let me start by saying this blog is top-notch.

    I really wasn’t impressed with the results of this recipe. The flavor was just OK I would say. Maybe it’s because I used cappelini which doesn’t hold the sauce as well, and mixed it in with the sauce in the pan. It just seemed thin and lacking flavor. I had to add a lot of salt and Parmesan to punch up the tastiness.

  21. athina

    Great recipe- but I don’t think the recipe calls for enough of the sauce ingredients – for a full pound of pasta. I used the same recipe with only 1/2 pound of pasta,and the amount of sauce was adequate.

  22. Purvis

    Yummy! I heard that you can use quinoa as a replacement for rice or pasta, so I chose this dish to try that out. Also, I don’t eat pork so I used a 14-oz smoked beef sausage and added a chipotle pepper (w/ some adobo sauce) into the tomato puree. SO GOOD! The sauce alone was really flavorful, but paired with the quinoa, it was just amazing.

  23. Elise

    Made it for the first time last night. We both loved it. A great easy recipe for the week. Just one question, any reason why you can’t use a 28 0z can of already pureed tomatos? instead of pureeing a 28 oz can of whole tomatos? Just makes it a little faster if you can do that…or I sort of like the idea of a using a can whole peeled tomatos, and then breaking them up for a chunkier sause…any opinion on that?

    You can do that if you want. We usually have canned whole tomatoes on hand. ~Elise

  24. Jesse

    Hello Elise,

    I made this for my girlfriend and she was pretty impressed :)! I can’t believe i used to use that pre-made stuff :( … This is very delicious and just easy enough for noobies like myself.


  25. QL7

    I used to make this all of the time for me and my roommate in the 70’s! I used extra hot sausage from our local Italian store and it was outstanding. I’m gonna start putting this one in my regular meal rotation again. Thanks.

  26. Lisa

    Hi Elise!
    I love your blog and especially that I can read you on my Kindle. Can’t wait to try this out tonight. I have tried many of your other recipes and they have never dissapointed us.

  27. Elise

    Congratulations! If you are looking for some good German recipes, we have a few here:

  28. Kristin

    This was great. I doubled the sausage and sauce! Next time I may seriously consider tripling it!!! All 3 of my boys loved it!

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