the featured image of the spicy rigatoni pasta with sausage mushroom tomato basil sauce
Fast Dinner Recipes, Supper Time

Tomato Basil Rigatoni With Crumbled Sausage & Mushroom.

Cooks in 20 Minutes Difficulty Easy 0 comments

This tomato basil rigatoni pasta with crumbled sausage and mushrooms is the ultimate busy weeknight dinner solution. Families will adore its hearty flavors, and this spicy sausage rigatoni pasta never fails to impress at the dinner table. With the convenience of store-bought jarred pasta sauce and frozen spinach, this dish comes together in just thirty minutes, making it a must-have in your recipe lineup.

I ate a lot of pasta for dinner growing up. In fact, it was almost every other day as it was a cheap meal option that all of us kids would eat. So, it was an easy, natural choice for my family when I had children, and most kids love pasta in all its various shapes and forms. But here’s the thing: I grew tired of pasta with the same old red sauce with ground beef. That’s when I decided, pre-internet, mind you, to experiment with an old family recipe that included chopped whole sausage in the sauce. While I love sausages like the next person, I wanted to distribute the meat more evenly. It means less fighting with kids- I mean grown kids, too- about who has the most meat in their dish. 

Crumbling the sausage for the sauce is a simple process that leads to a delicious dinner with a few extra ingredients to elevate it from plain and dull to exciting and full of flavor. Plus, anytime I could sneak in some extra veg when the kids were small was always a win. 

If you’re a pasta aficionado, you will love this Mediterranean chicken pasta dish. It’s a simple meal that you can toss together on any day of the week. 

the tomato basil rigatoni with crumbled sausage and mushroom sauce on an oval white plates as seen from above one end

Why You Will Love This Recipe

Quick and Easy: This dish is an excellent option for busy weeknights when you are short on time. With simple preparation and minimal cooking time, it’s a convenient option for those hectic evenings when time is of the essence.

Convenience of Ingredients: The recipe utilizes easily accessible and versatile ingredients, such as rigatoni pasta, sausage, mushrooms, and spinach, many of which can be kept in the pantry or freezer. Thus, it is convenient to whip up this flavorful meal without going to the grocery store.

Flavorful and Satisfying: This dish offers a hearty, satisfying meal with its hearty combination of savory sausage, earthy mushrooms, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and vibrant spinach, all coated in a rich tomato basil sauce. It’s great comfort food for a cozy home dinner.

Let’s Start This Easy Pasta Recipe

First, gathering the ingredients for the sausage sauce is a good idea. Have them all near the stove with your large skillet so you can watch the sauce and the pasta cook. 

To make sausage crumbles from whole sausages, simply squeeze the casing until the ground meat comes out from the end. Discard the casings, as we only want that savory filling for this recipe. 

Start the pasta water to boil while heating the large frying pan for the sauce. Remember, this is making a considerable amount that will feed up to ten people. If you wish to reduce the amount of food for your meal, reduce the amount of pasta you cook. That will ensure there is a lot of meaty sauce for your dinner. You can also reuse the meat sauce in another dish the next day if you wish. Or freeze it for up to two months to use later. 

Assuming you are making the pasta, the recipe calls for you to get a large pasta pot with enough water to cover all the dry rigatoni sufficiently. While that is coming up to temp, add olive oil and slivered garlic to the frying pan. Sauté for thirty seconds before adding the sausage meat. You can use your kitchen tool to break the sausage meat down while browning, creating a crumbled consistency. Cooking the sausage on high heat and breaking it apart until it is no longer pink in color speeds up the cooking process. 

You can then add in the frozen spinach. Because you are using frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach, you will want to keep cooking on high heat so that all the water can evaporate during the cooking process. When most of the water from the spinach is gone, you can add in the sliced mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Continue cooking on medium-high heat until the mushrooms are soft; add the jarred pasta sauce and lower to simmer. Simmer until the pasta sauce is heated, and stir the mixture so that the ingredients are well distributed in the sauce. 

We need to talk about the rigatoni. It must be adequately cooked. To ensure the rigatoni is cooked perfectly:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. 
  2. Follow the package directions for the rigatoni until al dente, typically around 10-12 minutes. 
  3. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent sticking. 

This al dente texture ensures the pasta maintains its satisfying bite and absorbs the flavors of the sauce beautifully.

When the pasta has been cooked, drain the water in a colander. Put the pasta back into the large pot and add the sausage-tomato basil sauce, mixing well before serving. Remember to reserve or freeze any sauce you intend to use. 

the featured image of the spicy rigatoni pasta with sausage mushroom tomato basil sauce

If you are freezing the sauce for later, you will want to ensure it has fully cooled off before sealing it in an airtight freezer storage container. Be sure to label it with the date. 

This simple pasta dish makes a great family dinner that’s relatively low-cost for a large family gathering. It also works wonders for packing up a hearty work lunch for hardworking folks the next day. This family favorite is also very easy to customize with other add-ins, so be sure to see the substitution and add-ins section below for suggestions. 

Ingredients:

Rigatoni Pasta: Traditionally used in Italian cuisine, this sturdy, ridged pasta is perfect for capturing and holding onto the hearty sauce, ensuring each bite has a rich mix of flavors.

Hot Italian Sausage: The hot Italian sausage adds a bold, spicy kick with its blend of chili flakes and seasonings, enhancing the dish with a rich, savory flavor complementing the tomato basil sauce.

Olive Oil: When used to cook the ingredients, olive oil provides a rich, smooth base that complements the flavors of the garlic and sausage.

Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves infuse the dish with a fragrant, savory aroma and a subtle pungency that enhances the other ingredients.

Frozen Spinach: Adding frozen spinach introduces a healthy, vibrant green element, balancing the richness of the sausage and mushrooms. Its convenience allows for quick and easy incorporation into the dish.

Mushrooms: This ingredient adds an earthy, umami flavor that deepens the dish’s complexity and pairs perfectly with the sausage.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes In Oil: The sun-dried tomatoes bring a tangy, slightly sweet intensity that complements the savory elements and adds a chewy texture.

Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce: This sauce ties everything together with its tangy, sweet, and aromatic notes, coating the rigatoni in a luscious, flavorful blend. I should note that I used Classico brand pasta sauce for the recipe. While cost has gone up in the past couple of years, the quality hasn’t been compromised, making it a great choice for a tasty dinner. 

close up of spicy rigatoni pasta with sausage pasta sauce

Substitutions and Add-Ins For This Rigatoni Pasta Recipe

Rigatoni Pasta: You can substitute rigatoni with penne, ziti, or any other tubular pasta that holds sauce well. For a whole-grain option, try whole wheat rigatoni. A gluten-free version of the dish can be made with gluten-free pasta.

​Hot Italian Sausage: If you prefer a milder flavor, substitute with mild Italian sausage. For a lighter option, use chicken or turkey sausage. Vegetarian sausage or crumbled tofu seasoned with Italian spices can be used for a vegetarian version. Instead of using whole sausages with the casings removed you can also purchase ground sausage meat at some stores. 

Olive Oil: If you don’t have olive oil, use neutral cooking oil like canola or vegetable oil. For a different flavor profile, try using garlic-infused oil or herb-infused oil.

​Garlic: Fresh garlic can be substituted with powder or minced garlic from a jar. Roasted garlic can add a sweeter flavor.

​Frozen Spinach: Fresh spinach can be used as a substitute; sauté it until wilted. Kale or Swiss chard can also be used as a green vegetable option.

Mushrooms: You can substitute with any mushroom you prefer, such as cremini, portobello, or shiitake. For added texture, try adding sliced bell peppers or zucchini.

​Sun-Dried Tomatoes In Oil: Roasted red peppers provide a similarly sweet, tangy flavor and chewy texture. Fresh cherry or grape tomatoes can also provide sweetness and juiciness.

​Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce: If you don’t have tomato basil pasta sauce, marinara or plain tomato sauce with added fresh basil will work. For a creamier version, mix in some heavy cream or ricotta cheese.

Add-ins could include parmesan cheese, olives, fresh herbs, and other vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers. If you use a mild Italian sausage in place of the hot version you can add in red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. 

the tomato basil rigatoni with crumbled sausage and mushroom sauce on an oval white plates as seen from above one end

Expert Tips, Serving, and Storing Suggestions For This Easy Pasta Recipe

Tip #1: Cooking Frozen Spinach with Sausage: Be mindful of excess moisture when adding frozen spinach directly to the sausage as it cooks. As the spinach thaws and cooks, it will release water. To prevent it from diluting the sauce, ensure that the sausage is cooked over high heat and stir frequently to help evaporate excess moisture from the spinach.

Tip #2: Ensure Sausage Is Cooked. When cooking the crumbled sausage, brown it in a skillet over high heat until no longer pink, breaking it apart as it cooks. When the last bit of brown is gone, continue adding the remaining ingredients. 

Tip #3: Draining Pasta Thoroughly: After cooking the rigatoni, drain it thoroughly in a colander to remove any excess water. Residual water can dilute the sauce and make the dish overly watery. Give the colander a gentle shake to ensure all water is drained before adding the sauce.

Pair this spicy tomato basil rigatoni with warm, garlic-infused breadsticks or crusty garlic bread to soak up the incredible flavor. With its savory sauce, the hearty rigatoni is complemented by the boldness of spicy Italian sausage, creating a dish that will delight the taste buds with its satisfying blend of heat and herbs.

To store these spicy tomato basil rigatoni leftovers, allow them to cool completely before transferring them to a food container. The sauced pasta will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days; in the freezer, it can be stored for up to 1-2 months. When ready to enjoy again, reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated, adding a splash of water or broth to maintain the sauce’s consistency.

Have you tried making this spicy tomato basil rigatoni with crumbled sausage yet? Share your culinary adventures with us! Your comments and feedback are invaluable whether you’ve followed the recipe or put your own spin on it. Let’s swap stories, tips, and ideas to keep the kitchen creativity flowing. Don’t hesitate to drop a line below and join the conversation!

the recipe card image of the pasta with crumbled sausage and mushroom tomato basil sauce

Tomato Basil Rigatoni With Crumbled Sausage & Mushrooms

Amber Bondar
This tomato basil rigatoni with crumbled sausage and mushrooms is a quick and convenient dinner that comes together in just 30 minutes. The whole family will love the spicy kick from the hot Italian sausages and the rich tomato basil flavor. Made with simple ingredients it is an easy dish to prepare and have the ingredients on hand for any night of the week. Plus you can freeze any extra sauce for up to two months!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Canadian, Italian
Servings 10

Equipment

  • Large Pasta Pot
  • Large Skillet or Frying Pan
  • measuring cup
  • Wooden Spoon Or Other Stirring Implement
  • Cutting board
  • knife
  • Paring Knife
  • Colander

Ingredients
  

  • 7 Cups Rigatoni Al Dente (900 Gram Package Cooked)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Lrg Cloves Of Garlic Slivered
  • 5 Hot Italian Sausage Casings Removed
  • 2 Cups Frozen Chopped Spinach
  • 3 Cups Mushrooms Sliced
  • ¼ Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes In Oil Chopped
  • 5 Cups Jarred Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce (2x Classico Tomato Basil Sauce 650ml)

Instructions
 

  • Start by preparing the pasta water in a large pot according to package directions.
    7 Cups Rigatoni Al Dente
  • Gather, prepare and measure the spinach, sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms.
  • Add the olive oil to a large deep skillet or frying pan on high heat.
    2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Add the slivered garlic cloves and sauté on high heat for 30 seconds.
    4 Lrg Cloves Of Garlic
  • Add in the sausage meat casing removed and break apart with kitchen tool.
    5 Hot Italian Sausage
  • Cook the sausage and garlic on high heat until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Add in the frozen spinach and continue to cook on high heat until the water from the spinach has evaporated.
    2 Cups Frozen Chopped Spinach
  • Add in the sliced mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes stirring well. Reduce the elements temperature to med-high.
    3 Cups Mushrooms, ¼ Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes In Oil
  • Once the mushrooms are softened add in the jarred tomato basil pasta sauce and lower temperature again to simmer.
    5 Cups Jarred Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
  • Stir the sauce well to distribute the ingredients.
  • Remove the cooked rigatoni from the heat and drain in a colander. Be sure to give it a shake to remove excess water.
  • Return the rigatoni to the pasta pot and add the sauce and stir well.
  • Serve the dish while hot.

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in fridge for up to 3 days. 
Freeze unused portions of sausage pasta sauce without the pasta for up to two months. 
Keyword easy dinner, pasta dinner, Rigatoni, Sausage

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