Rigatoni pasta with sausage, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil is the perfect recipe for an easy, delicious weeknight dinner.
You know those nights when you don’t know what to make for dinner and aren’t feeling motivated to make dinner? Yeah, we have those nights too. Well, when it’s one of those nights, I like to turn to Rigatoni with Sausage because it’s easy to make and one of my boys’ favorite meals. Plus, we always have pasta in our pantry, pasta always saves the day and who doesn’t love pasta? Pasta is always a dinner winner at our house, especially when garlic bread is served on the side.
What is Rigatoni Pasta?
Rigatoni pasta is larger than penne pasta and not cut on a diagonal. The pasta noodles are larger and slightly curved in a tube shape. I love using rigatoni for this recipe because the noodles are hearty and they hold the meaty sauce well. If you don’t have rigatoni, you can use penne or ziti.
How to Make Rigatoni with Sausage
- To boil the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add generously salt the water. Add the rigatoni and stir gently. Return to a boil and cook until al dente, about 12 to 14 minutes. Drain.
- While the rigatoni is cooking, make the sauce. Make sure you use a large sauce pan that will hold the sauce and pasta.
- Use Italian sausage, we use mild because of the kids, but if you want a kick to the sauce, you can use spicy Italian sausage. Or if you use mild Italian sausage, you can always heat things up with crushed red pepper flakes.
- Cook the sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. When cooked and no longer pink, transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a plate that has been lined with paper towels. The paper towels will soak up some of the grease. Discard all but one tablespoon of the fat.
- Cook the onion and garlic and then add the marinara sauce. Make sure you use a GOOD sauce. You can use our easy marinara sauce or slow cooker marinara sauce, but if you don’t have time to make the sauce you can use store bought sauce. We love DeLallo or Rao’s brands.
- Let the sausage sauce simmer for 10 minutes and then gently stir in the cooked pasta. Add the fresh mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese and simmer until cheese melts, stirring occasionally so the pasta and cheese doesn’t stick to the pan. If you don’t have fresh mozzarella, you can use shredded mozzarella cheese, but we prefer fresh mozzarella for this recipe.
- Garnish with fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. You can add extra parmesan cheese.
Garlic bread is the obvious choice, pasta and garlic bread are a match made in heaven. If you want to go all out, you can make our Caprese Garlic Bread. We love making it during the summertime when our garden tomatoes are ripe and ready.
If you want to add a lighter side dish, I suggest roasted broccoli, roasted lemon parmesan green beans, or a simple green salad with basil vinaigrette.
This easy Rigatoni with Sausage makes a great weeknight dinner and the leftovers are great for lunch or dinner the next day! This rigatoni pasta is a family favorite, easy to make and classic comfort food!
More Pasta Recipes:
- Sheet Pan Pasta Bake
- Baked Ziti
- Pasta Primavera
- One Pot Sausage Pasta
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 5-Ingredient Spinach Parmesan Pasta
- Pasta Pomodoro
Rigatoni with Sausage
- 12 ounces rigatoni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh basil, for garnish
- Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of kosher salt, about a tablespoon. Cook the rigatoni until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the Italian sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a plate that has been lined with paper towels. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of of the fat.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes with the onion.
- Pour in the marinara sauce and add the sausage back into the pan. Stir well and let the sauce simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add the cooked rigatoni and gently stir until the pasta is well coated with sauce. Add the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the cheese is melted.
- Garnish with fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve warm.
Have you tried this recipe?
Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @twopeasandpod and hashtag it with #twopeasandtheirpod
love it, easy too as you write, reminds me of one of my favorite bolognese dishes too, but that takes a lot longer to simmer, etc, so thank you for this recipe
This looks yummy. What do you do with the tablespoon of fat you saved?
Leave it in the pan to cook the onion and garlic.
Looks delicious… Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe.
Made this last night- it was SO good!! Thank you!
I made this tonight and it’s absolutely delicious and I didn’t even have a bay leaf or fennel. My daughter that refuses to eat red sauce tried it and loved it. I cannot wait until my Two Peas cookbook arrives in try mail this week.
Glad you loved the rigatoni! Thanks for buying our cookbook. Let us know what you make!
Do you take the casing off of the sausage?
Yes, if it has it.
This was not a winner for my family of four. Rigatoni was too big, onions were too crunchy, and the fresh cheese did not melt well. It looked and sounded so good on your website.
This was very tasty, it could have been a little more creamy- it was a bit dry with all the cheese, it mainly got stringy rather than moist. But nonetheless, it was very yummy. I used a tomato basil sauce and sweet Italian sausage.
Yum, Yum!! This recipe came out so good. I made it exactly as written except I added 8 oz of baby bella sliced mushrooms with the chopped onion. Thank you for this easy family friendly recipe.