EASY Italian Sausage Spaghetti

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.

Make the sauce and the spaghetti simultaneously. The sauce should be done in the time it takes to heat the pasta water and cook the spaghetti.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 4 ounces (110 g) Italian sweet sausage (or one 7 to 8 inch link)
  • 4 ounces (110 g)  Italian hot and spicy sausage (or one 7 to 8 inch link)
  • 1 large (28 oz, 794 g) can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 lb (16 oz, 450 g) spaghetti pasta
  • Salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1 Sauté onions and garlic: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium or medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more.

2 Put pasta water on to boil: While the onions are cooking, put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta (4 quarts water, 2 Tbsp salt).

3 Brown the sausage: Remove the cooked onion and garlic from the pan and set aside. Remove the sausage meat from the casings (if your sausage is in links) and add to the pan, breaking up the meat with your fingers as you add it to the pan. Cook on medium to medium high heat until lightly browned.

4 Add tomatoes, onions, garlic: Lightly purée the whole peeled canned tomatoes (and juices) in a blender, and add to the skillet with the sausage meat. Add the cooked onions and garlic. Heat to a bare simmer.

5 Boil the spaghetti pasta: Once the pasta water has come to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti pasta. Allow the water to return to a rolling boil. Cook, uncovered, with a 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. Drain the pasta and place it in a serving bowl.

Serve immediately. Toss with the sauce and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.


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  • Heather

    Delicious! And so easy, I used diced Italian spiced tomatoes I didn’t purée them

  • Viv

    So simple but so good! Added some white wine after the sausage was cooked and before adding the tomatoes.


  • Bavaria

    very good recipe …thanks a lot

  • Dana Blanchard

    i thought this was outstanding! Easy to make, limited ingredients and full of flavor. I have always used ground beef for sauce and decided to try the mild and hot sausage. I was very pleased with this recipe and how tasty it was. I added mushrooms and fresh basil and simmered about 30 minutes. I cook all the time, consider myself a pretty good cook and i hardly ever right a review for a recipe. Will definitely make this again.


  • Nancy

    After I put the onions and garlic back in so I simmer the sauce for 35 mins? Or just as long as it takes to cook the pasta.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Nancy, good question! I’ve clarified in the recipe. You make the sauce and cook the spaghetti at the same time. The sauce should be done in the time it takes to heat the water and cook the spaghetti. Once you add the tomato to the sausage and onions, all you have to do it heat it. You can simmer it a little if you need to wait for the spaghetti to finish cooking.

  • Kristina

    Great, simple recipe! I added some oregano, red pepper flakes, and parsley and it was really tasty!

  • Hailey

    My only comment is that the sauce is a bit runny but delicious nonetheless!

  • Beth

    Love this recipe! I am living in Italy, learning the language and learning how to cook all over again. This website has been an incredible resource for me. Following then then NOT following this recipe has taught me a lot. Following this recipe exactly as written has resulted in the authentic ragu taste that I have such an appreciation for here! Thank you Elise!

    • Elise Bauer

      Thanks Beth, I’m so glad you like the site and the recipe!

  • Laura

    So tasty!!! I loved it and I was so proud of myself for making a sauce with so much flavor. Thank you for making me look like a rock star!!

  • Kelly

    This was so good! The best sausage spaghetti I have had. I only made one change. I added some sliced mushrooms.

  • Sherronett Clarke


    Another hit recipe! There can never be too much spaghetti in my house! Never thought of mixing the sweet Italian with hot and spicy Italian sausage. Love it! One suggestion I have is to add diced celery. Sounds weird but it’s from a family recipe. It gives a great flavor and a crunch most people like. I hope you give it a try.

    Sherronett C.

  • pam

    Hi, Elise,

    this has become a staple!
    tonight i added mushroom. also goes quite well.


  • pam

    so yummy & simple

    i used ground meat + italian sausage spice & gluten free pasta.
    i added some basil at the end

    (i have never had a failure using your recipe :-))


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Pam, I’m so glad you liked it! We have this spaghetti at least once a month.

  • gina

    I made this and used twice as much onions as called for. Added a little extra garlic on top. Tasted wonderful. The next time I make it, I’m going to try a different type of sausage

  • Fennel

    Commercial sausage doesn’t have enough fennel for my taste. I always crush whole fennel seeds and add them to Italian sausage.

  • Jules

    Made recipe as directed. This was excellent, and so simple! We will definitely be enjoying this one again and again. Thank you, Elise!

  • Rob

    I prefer to control the spiciness of my sauce and like to vary the spice level. For this reason, I always buy sweet Italian sausage and add crushed red peppers according to whom I’m serving, very little if young children or older people are eating and definitely more if it’s just the adults in my household.

  • Gopaljee Ananda

    Wow ! Really simple my wife says its very easy way of making spaghetti sauce.


  • Mary Frances

    What a delicious and simple to prepare meal! Would be fun to throw some seasonal veggies in too!

    • LaTrice

      That sounds good. I was thinking of a green salad, and some garlic bread to round out the meal. :-)

  • Sandy S

    Wow, so easy and so good! This is a real boon to dinner time quickies. I used a large can of crushed tomatoes and was very happy with the sauce texture and flavor. I also used ‘sliced’ spiced turkey sausage, because it did not want to crumble, and found that was no problem. May swap out the spaghetti for steamed shredded zucchini next time, just to see what that tastes like. All and all, this is a real eye opener into how keeping it simple, can really work!


  • Christina

    Just wondering something (or maybe this is a tip?): Whenever I do a dish with either sausage or ground meat, I brown the meat lightly in the pan *first* (with whatever extra fat might be needed, depending on the meat), and when it’s lost the raw colour, I *then* add the chopped onion directly to the pan, and then the garlic. I don’t have to monitor it quite as much, and I personally prefer the meat well browned (and of course it all deglazes once you add the liquid). In any case, it removes one of the steps (of taking out the onion/garlic) and adding it back in — is there any reason you don’t do this?

  • Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek

    My spaghetti sauce has always included Italian Sausage. It certainly isn’t that easy but good. I can it so I always have it available. I think I will try your version this week. It is just to simple to pass up.

  • Evelyn

    Easy, nutritious, tasty. Everything I look for in a weeknight recipe. I added some chopped fresh Italian parsley near the end of cooking, but otherwise made it exactly according to the recipe. Husband liked it and so did I.

  • LaTrice

    Is it possible that I could use angel hair instead of traditional spaghetti? Thanks, Elise! :-)

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • Chris

    No peppers?

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

  • 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.

  • 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.)

  • Shannon

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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,


  • 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,


  • Anna

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Tom ~ Raise Your Garden

      I was thinking even deer sausage?!? But that might be too lean as well. But I guess there’s a reason the Olive Garden using sausage in their spaghetti and meat sauce recipe. Because it tastes so darn good! Ok, I need to make this and pretend I’m Italian.