You'll love this recipe, it's so easy to make and takes such little time – Less than 20 minutes.

I just tested this recipe last night and made a few tweaks to make it perfect. It's super easy to follow just be sure to use San Marzano whole canned tomatoes, the best quality Italian sausages, pasta and cheeses. For hard cheese like Parmesan and Pecorino, I like to buy chunks rather than pre-grated, I like to grate it myself, using my mciroplane.

I don't like to suggest ingredients where you will have leftovers, but in this case, the leftover Ricotta cheese will be divine with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, a good baguette–I love Ace Bakery baguettes available at most grocery stores–and let's not forget a good full body red wine. 

Please note: Our recipe image shows Penne pasta, you can also use Rigatoni which is a larger tube without the ridges. For a lower-calorie version of this recipe, you can swap the pasta for zucchini noodles, which is delicious, for this I highly recommend buying OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Spiralizer.

You got this! 

For gluten free, swap pasta for gluten free, also check your meat to ensure it doesn't contain gluten. Again, you can swap the pasta for zucchini noodles with our highly recommend OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Spiralizer.

For vegetarian, leave off meat of course. If you are looking for more protein fry up some firm tofu to swap for proteins. Simply pat tofu dry with paper towel, cut up tofu into cubes and pan fry with vegetable oil over medium to high heat, to crisp it up.

And please join me in the comments below, I read every comment and love to hear how it went! 

Prop styling Mari Loewen. Recipe & food styling Marisa Curatolo. Photography Cory Aronec.

Prop styling Mari Loewen. Recipe & food styling Marisa Curatolo. Photography Cory Aronec.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4Servings


  • 1/2 package (1/2-pound) rigatoni or penne pasta

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian pork sausage, casing removed and crumbled
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28-ounce) San Marzano tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Coarse salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, to garnish


In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until tender but firm about 8 to 10 minutes. (very important as we will be adding it to our sauce later where it will continue to cook) Drain reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until slightly brown, about 8 minutes; remove and set aside. To same pan, add onion and garlic, reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes. Squeeze canned tomatoes through your fingers and add right to the pot, increase temperature to medium to high and cook 5 minutes. 

The magic is in adding the pasta water! Add drained pasta, add 1/4 cup reserved pasta water and cook another 2 to 4 minutes or until sauce has thickened and pasta is al dente (firm to the bite). Adding the pasta water adds the gluten into the sauce making it creamy and coats the pasta well. Add cooked sausage and mix well, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir in ricotta cheese, sprinkle with Pecorino Romano and basil leaves.