Italian Sausage and Basil Pesto: Sweet Italian sausage, red onion and basil pesto—paired with pasta—gives you an easy, yet delicious, meal the entire family will love. The leftovers (if there are any!) reheat nicely, making it a perfect next-day lunch or late night snack.
Italian Sausage and Basil Pesto Penne
©Eazy Peazy Mealz by EazyPeazyMealz.com
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For this recipe I used my homemade sweet Italian sausage but you can definitely use store-bought mild or hot sausage, if that’s what you and your family prefer.
Cheese is optional, but as all cheese-lovers know, no pasta dish seems complete without a generous sprinkle or two of a great cheese right before serving.
The sauce in this Italian sausage and basil pesto recipe is minimal, simple, light and fresh, perfect for warmer months. All you need is basil pesto, which you can find at any grocery store, and the water you cooked the pasta in. So, make sure you reserve some of the water when you drain your pasta, or simply dip some out right before draining. This water is full of the pasta starch that will thicken the pan sauce, all while making it deliciously smooth.
Penne is the perfect pasta shape for a sausage and pesto recipe because it pairs well with the chunks of sausage and the pasta grooves help lock-in the sauce. Did you know that penne pasta comes in two versions in Italy? It comes as smooth penne (known just as Penne) and grooved penne (known as Penne Rigate).
It’s kind of funny that what we typically refer to as just penne here in the States is Penne Rigate in Italy. Please excuse my rusty Italian, but I believe “rigate” could be translated as grooved, ridged, or lined – describing the surface and texture of this pasta.
Another pasta shape that works exceptionally well with this recipe is rotini. Rotini is my son’s favorite pasta so I use it in this Italian sausage and porcini mushrooms recipe that doubles as dinner the first day and a hearty salad the next.
Don’t forget to pin to your PASTA Pinterest board. And check out these other pasta dishes: