Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake

I’ve partnered with SocialStars and Johnsonville® to pep up pasta night with this delicious Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake!This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal!

Let’s play a little game.  Close your eyes and think about your favorite restaurant in your area.  It could be a fancy restaurant where you celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.  Or it could be a little hole-in-wall pizza joint where you get take-out pies on cold, winter evenings.  Ok, so what is your favorite restaurant?

I’ve got a couple of favorite haunts in our area.  (I say haunts because Halloween is right around the corner…and I like to pretend I’m a ghost.)  But one of my favorite places is one which our neighbors introduced us to not too long after we moved into the neighborhood.  It’s a small, family-style Italian restaurant about 20 minutes away.  And it’s delicious!

This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal! #SausageFamilyWhen I say small, family-style Italian restaurant, I mean small.  As many wooden tables and chairs as possible are crammed into the space, and the walls are decorated with all sorts of New York sports memorabilia.  And I’m talking like old school newspapers and magazines.  Heck, I could probably spend an hour in there just walking around looking at the walls.

But back to the food.  This place has some of the best Italian food I’ve ever eaten.  Hands down.  No questions asked.  But here’s the thing: it’s served family-style.  An entree can easily feed 3 people…with leftovers.  It’s a bit difficult for my wife and I to go there by ourselves since we end up with way too much food.  Granted, it’s way too much delicious food.  But still.  So we end up only going up whenever our family is town…we need to bring extra mouths to help us finish those massive bowls of pasta!

This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal! #SausageFamilyYou can imagine my shock one cold Saturday morning about 2 years ago when I turned on the news to find that this restaurant had burned down.  I’m not talking just a small kitchen fire.  I’m talking there was only a hole in the ground where the building used to stand.  I almost cried.  Fortunately for us, they quickly rebuilt in a nearby location.  But the bowls of pasta might be even bigger than before.

This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal! #SausageFamilyThe other night, I set out to create a tasty weeknight pasta dish.  I drew inspiration from our favorite Italian restaurant, and the result was this Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake.  This is an easy recipe that’s ready in about 30-35 minutes.  Oh, and the leftovers are just as good as the original.  That’s how we roll on weeknights around here!

As I was making this skillet bake, I couldn’t help but think about how this recipe features so many layers of flavor.  You start with a classic base of onions, peppers and garlic…and Italian sausage.  Italian sausage makes everything better, right?  My wife is part-Italian, and she tells me it’s true.  (And since my wife is currently 8+ months pregnant, everything she says right now is true.  Everything.)

This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal! #SausageFamily

Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake

We used Johnsonville’s® Sweet Italian Sausage for this skillet bake, and it added loads of flavor to the dish.  We’re big fans of Johnsonville® around here, and we’ve always got a stash of Italian sausage in our freezer.  (I did mention that my wife is part-Italian, right?)  Here’s the thing about this recipe: feel free to adapt it to your own preferences.  Italian sausage is a tasty add-in to any of your favorite recipes.  Just swap out the protein for Italian sausage, and you’ve got a new twist on an old favorite!

This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal!Once the onions, pepper, garlic and sausage cook for a bit, then you just add in some canned tomatoes and a bunch of spices.  Simmer, simmer, simmer and then add in a bit of cream and some mozzarella cheese.  Toss that bad boy in the oven until the top gets nice and bubbly, and you’ve got one heck of a weeknight meal.  Forget going out to eat!  This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake is delicious, and I’ve almost always got the ingredients on hand.  And I even have some classic sports memorabilia on the walls (in my office).  Delicious sausage, tasty weeknight pasta bakes and sports memorabilia are a win-win-win in my book!

Looking for more tasty Italian sausage recipes?  Check these out!

Spicy Italian Sausage Roll

Sausage and Basil Campanelle with Burrata

Sausage and Peppers Pizza

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Italian Meatball Tartlets

This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal!

Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake

This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 624kcal

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces pasta penne, ziti and campanelle all work well
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 19 oz. Johnsonville mild Italian sausage, halved and sliced
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • tsp garlic minced
  • 28 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese grated
  • {optional garnish} fresh basil chopped

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. (Tip: Toss cooked pasta in ~2 Tbsp of milk to prevent it from sticking together.)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Add olive oil to a large cast iron skillet and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add Italian sausage, onion and bell pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, or until onions have softened slightly. Add garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes more, or until sausage is cooked through.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add cream and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add cooked pasta and 1 cup of cheese; stir until well combined.
  • Top skillet with remaining cheese and place in oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese has fully melted.
  • {Optional} Garnish with chopped fresh basil before serving.

This Italian Sausage Pasta Skillet Bake makes for one heck of an awesome weeknight meal!

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24 Comments

  1. We don’t have any favorite restaurants yet since we’re basically just discovering them, and we haven’t visited any of those twice. That should be an impeccable restaurant, and we’re too picky to find at least one. Besides, how a restaurant could be favorite if none of them serve lavender, eh?! But you’ve got here the dish that could potentially be my favorite (just love baked pasta). Your wife is absolutely right about sausage. But if she says that lavender would make this pasta better too, please don’t listen to her. Ouch, did I just betray lavender?! Perfect comfort meal, David!

    1. We’re pretty picky, too, Ben…but we still have a list of our favorites! We often end up saying we can make better stuff at home, but at the same time…it’s nice to not have to cook at home, ya know? Especially on a Friday after a long week! Yes, lavender is out for this pasta! I did indeed try to put some in, but my wife tacked me just as I open my bottle of dried lavender. Good thing she did! Haha!

  2. “Weeknight meal” isn’t the only thing this is good for – I got some GF pasta and I think this could be Saturday’s Breakfast for Lil Shashi and I! Love those layers of flavors – and Mrs Spiced sure is right, Italian Sausage most definitely makes EVERYTHING better and I’m not agreeing cos she’s 8+ months either!

    I would have cried if I found out my fav restaurant burned to the ground! Glad they rebuilt though! We only seem to eat out when we are in a different city – in Atl, the few few times we do go out, we get breakfast/brunch at this little whole in the wall place called The Little Barn – they have the best biscuits and cinnamon rolls ever!

    1. Hahaha! Breakfast!?! I mean, it is a delicious pasta bake, but I’d want to get some eggs in there instead of pasta. Now that would be good, though! 🙂 I’ve heard of The Little Barn. I don’t think we ever made it there, but it’s most definitely on the list if I ever get back to ATL! Thanks, Shashi!

  3. We have this tiny little Mexican restaurant in our town and it is the BOMB! So this post kind of reminds me of that. It’s always great when you can find inspiration from restaurant dishes! And this one looks nothing short of a masterpiece! If it has pasta, then I’m all for it! 😀 Thanks for sharing! Pinning! 😀

    1. Oh man, why is it that tiny little Mexican restaurants are always so darned good? We had a place like that back in Durham, NC when I was in college…and I’d go there at least once a week! If you didn’t know to look for the door, you’d never have found it! Thanks, Kennedy!

  4. Hi David! I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Unfortunately where we live there are no good restaurants, so favorite place to eat is at home! The menu varies nightly and the atmosphere is casual! 🙂

    1. Haha…I’m all about a casual atmosphere! If I can eat dinner in my pajama pants, then I consider that a win. It’s perfect for those cold Fall evenings when you want to curl up to a bowl of comfort food…like pasta! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Alice! This baked pasta is the ultimate comfort food for these cold Fall nights…which shouldn’t be so cold already in my opinion!!

  5. Yum, yum, yum!! My favorite cuisine is Italian! I could eat pasta everyday, but you know how that would turn out for me. 🙂 I’ve never made a skillet bake before so again, another one of your recipes to add to my ever growing list of things to make. 🙂

    1. Haha…tell me about it! Pasta is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods! Hey, it’s ok to have a long list of yummy comfort foods…we’re heading into comfort food season here! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! I’m all about easy, comfort food now that the nights are getting cold. And a pasta bake is pretty much the very definition of easy comfort food! 🙂

  6. This skillet pasta bake looks delicious! Definitely my idea of weeknight comfort food – you can’t go wrong with Italian food, it is the best! Loving all the flavours in this dish, and all that gooey mozzarella! Great recipe, David! 😀

    1. I’m with ya, Jess! If I had to pick one type of food to eat for the rest of my life, it would most definitely be Italian food. And a skillet pasta bake is the way we like to roll on weeknights…I need easy comfort food after a long day! 🙂

    1. There’s no shame at all in pasta, Dannii! To me, pasta is one of the ultimate comfort foods. Along with soups, stews and cheese dip. And maybe some homemade biscuits. 🙂 Ok, so maybe I have a thing for comfort food…especially now that these nights are getting cold!

  7. Oh geebuz, I’m glad they were able to get back on their feet quickly! To say this is some of the best Italian Food you’ve eaten must mean this place is epic! The skillet bake looks amazing and that cheese shot= drooling.

    1. This place is seriously epic, mate! But I channeled their inner epicdom (epicness?) to create this awesome (and easy!) pasta bake. Now I want pasta for dinner again tonight…is that wrong?

    1. I know! I couldn’t believe it when I saw the news. This pasta bake is the very definition of comfort food…perfect for these cold nights that are coming our way. Thank you so much, Kelly!

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