Filed Under: Healthy | Pasta | Whole Wheat

Penne with Spicy Sausage-Tomato Sauce

Recipe By Tessa Arias
March 24th, 2011
I can't count the number of times I've saved a recipe from a magazine or website, intending to try it out, only to forget about it the second I walk...

I can’t count the number of times I’ve saved a recipe from a magazine or website, intending to try it out, only to forget about it the second I walk away. I saved this particular recipe years ago and randomly stumbled upon it recently. Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage-Tomato Sauce, Arugula, and Parmesan. Although that recipe title is a mouthful (most Bon Appetit recipe titles are. Also, sorry about that lame pun) it sounded scrumptious. I made quite a few changes from the original recipe from Bon Appetit magazine to make this recipe both delicious and nutritious. I swapped out pork sausage for spicy turkey sausage, but you could also use chicken. Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to pick up chicken and turkey sausages. I also swapped out whole-wheat penne for rigatoni (I can’t find whole-wheat rigatoni anywhere!) for some added fiber.  Next I added some more vegetables which ended up being mushrooms and bell pepper, mostly because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to add your favorite veggies. The result was something crave-worthy, both because of the taste and nourishment.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: Totally Italian. Can’t beat the combination of basil, oregano, and tomato especially when it’s enhanced with spicy sausage and arugula.  
Texture: The sauce is chunky, and meaty.    
Ease: A little bit of prep work and a little bit of waiting for the sauce to simmer. Nothing difficult. 
Appearance: Love the contrasting colors from the tomatoes & bell peppers and the arugula, basil, and oregano. 
Pros: Easy, flavorful, healthy.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? I froze half of the batch to save for later (I don’t need to serve 6).

Penne with Spicy Sausage-Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit June 2008
Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound hot Italian chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne or other whole wheat tube-shaped pasta
  • 2 cups (packed) fresh arugula, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and bell pepper, sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add sausage; cook until browned, breaking up with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add wine, diced tomatoes with juice, and crushed tomatoes; increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cool, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium heat before continuing.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. 
Stir pasta, arugula, basil, and oregano into tomato sauce. Simmer until arugula wilts, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (remember the Parmesan will be salty). Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

  1. #
    Lindsay — March 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    i've been looking for recipes i can make and freeze for my upcoming school quarter. this one looks perfect, thanks!!

  2. #
    Raluca — March 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Your recipe sounds amazing and I can not wait to try it!
    I do have one comment though: it is not recommended to refrigerate foods that are still warm because this increases a LOT the energy consumption of your fridge…so I would suggest cooling it completely before refrigerating it 🙂

  3. #
    Tessa — March 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Lindsay – I'm glad you like it!!

    Raluca – Thanks! Yes, definitely bring to room temperature before freezing. That will ensure the food won't continue cooking.

  4. #
    Valkocompany — March 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    I like this

  5. #
    spontaneous-euphoria — March 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Looks wonderful! Perfect for lunch or dinner!
    I myself only tried whole wheat penne pasta for the first time yesterday.. it adds quite a lovely and different flavour to the sauce!

  6. #
    jessica — May 18, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Do you think ground beef would work in this recipe instead of the sausage? This looks delicious but I don't eat sausage.

  7. # — May 12, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s
    new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Cookie Customization Chart
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!
As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed