Pesto Pasta with Italian Sausage

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This pesto pasta with Italian sausage is the ultimate 30-minute meal. It’s filling, flavorful, and such an easy weeknight meal.

pesto pasta recipe in Dutch oven

Easy 30-Minute Meal

Talk about an easy, flavorful 30-minute meal that’s packed with protein. This recipe takes classic pesto pasta up a notch with the addition of Italian sausage. The sausage adds flavor and protein.

This meal is kid-friendly and so easy to make. Bonus- you can use whatever dried pasta is your favorite (think linguini, penne, etc.).


ingredients on counter

Featured Ingredients

  • Pasta: any kind of dried pasta will work for this recipe.
  • Italian sausage: feel free to either use a mild Italian sausage or a spicy sausage. You can even use normal ground pork of you like.
  • Pesto: pesto is the star of the show and is what makes this recipe tastes so yummy! Feel free to use store-bought pesto or homemade.
  • Mozzarella cheese: mozzarella is mixed into the pasta and baked on top.
  • Breadcrumbs: breadcrumbs give this pasta a nice texture.
  • Spices: spices needed include garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
  • Parmesan cheese: grated parmesan is so flavorful. Top your pasta and enjoy!

risotto in bowl

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cooked sausage

Easy Instructions

  1. Cook pasta: first, cook your noodles until they’re al dente.
  2. Reserve pasta water: before straining the noodles, remove about 1.5 cups of starchy pasta water for later.
  3. Cook sausage: cook the Italian sausage until fully browned. Then add shallot and garlic.
  4. Deglaze pan: Deglaze the pan with the pasta water, making sure to remove any brown bits from the bottom.
  5. Add pesto, noodles, and cheese: Stir in the pesto and cheese and then add the noodles.
  6. Add breadcrumb topping: combine the breadcrumbs and spices and sprinkle it on top of the pasta along with the grated parmesan cheese. Broil on high for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve: serve immediately with fresh basil.

What does starchy pasta water do?

Not only does starchy pasta water help create more sauce, but it also helps thicken the pesto into a yummy sauce.

pesto sauce in Dutch oven


Swap the meat: feel free to use any kind of ground meat for this recipe. While Italian sausage will definitely add the best amount of flavor, you can also use normal ground pork, ground beef, or ground chicken.

Make it vegetarian: have plant-based ground on hand? Use that in order to make this vegetarian! You can even omit the meat altogether and just have pesto pasta!

Add a veggie: trying to up your veggie intake? Sautee in some zucchini, bell pepper, or broccoli.

Serving Suggestions

cooked pasta with cheese


Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

To reheat: transfer pasta back into a frying pan. Add a little water and reheat over medium heat until hot.

pesto pasta in bowl

pasta in bowl

Pesto Pasta with Italian Sausage

Incredibly easy Pesto Pasta made with Italian sausage and a yummy breadcrumb and parmesan topping. 

Prep: 5 mintuesCook: 25 minutesTotal: 24 minute

Fat 33

Carbs 51

Protein 27

Yield 6 1x


  • 12-oz. pasta (any kind) 
  • 1-lb. ground mild Italian sausage 
  • 1 shallot, minced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • ½ cup pesto (we used homemade pesto)
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • ⅓ cup breadcrumbs 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder 
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese 


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta just to al dente. Reserve 1.5 cups of pasta water and then drain the pasta and set it aside. 
  2. While heating the water in step 1, heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage and break it into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Continue stirring and cooking until the sausage is browned– about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring often. 
  4. Deglaze the pan by adding the pasta water and scraping the bottom to remove any browned bits. 
  5. Next stir in the pesto and ¼ cup mozzarella. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened and coated the pasta– about 2 minutes. 
  6. Top the pasta with the remaining ¼ cup grated mozzarella. 
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta and then top with the grated parmesan. 
  8. Place the pan under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden brown. 
  9. Serve immediately, topped with fresh basil. 
  10. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/6
Calories: 617
Sugar: 5
Fat: 33
Carbohydrates: 51
Fiber: 3
Protein: 27

Author: Lee FunkeCategory: PastaMethod: StovetopCuisine: Italian

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