This easy and healthier version of Sausage Arrabbiata Pasta uses lean turkey sausage, cherry tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and red pepper flakes to recreate this classic Italian dish.
Today's recipe for Sausage Arrabbiata with fresh tomatoes and spinach is a great meal for the beginning of fall. It's warm, hearty, and has just the perfect amount of spice. It's a meal that feels comforting and cozy but is surprisingly light when it comes to a dish with pasta and sausage.
The key to this recipe is the simple Arrabbiata sauce. It's basically tomato sauce kicked up with red pepper flakes, garlic, and Italian seasoning. For this version, I used a combination of fresh cherry tomatoes and tomato paste. You could also use more traditional canned San Marzano tomatoes.
To add some extra veggies, I finished this Sausage Arrabbiata with spinach. You could also add mushrooms, broccolini, or leaves the greens out completely for a more traditional dish. Topped with fresh basil and some Parmesan or Pecorino - it's one easy and delicious meal.
What is Arrabbiata sauce?
Arrabiata literally translates to "angry" in Italian. It is a spicy tomato-based sauce traditionally made with San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Typically Pasta Arrabbiata is served without protein. It's topped with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
Key Ingredients and Pantry Swaps
- Sausage: This recipe gets a lot of flavor from the sausage. Start with a fresh lean chicken or turkey sausage if you want something lighter. Pork sausage will also work.
- Tomatoes: This sauce can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes. The burst and flavor from fresh cherry tomatoes works really well when they are in season. Otherwise used canned San Marzano tomatoes.
- Garlic: Garlic is key in this sauce. Make sure to use fresh garlic cloves. Minced garlic or garlic powder can work but won't have the same rich flavor.
- Red pepper flakes: It isn't arrabbiata sauce without the heat so red pepper flakes are essential. Start with a few and add more until you achieve the spice level you like.
- Basil: To break up the heat and tomato flavor, basil is the perfect addition to this dish.
- Spinach: This recipe uses spinach to add some nutrients and greens. You could skip it entirely or swap in another vegetable.
- Pasta: serve this with any type of pasta you like. Medium pasta shapes like penne, ziti, or fusilli work well.
What to Serve with Sausage Pasta
Since this dish is hearty and filling on its own, it is best served with something light like a fresh green salad. Here are some to try:
Recipe Ideas and Tips
Here are some ways to customize this dish based on your preferences or what you have at home.
- Try a different protein: This sauce is delicious with all kinds of protein. Make sure to season the protein well since it won't have all the built-in seasoning of sausage. Try this with chicken, ground beef, shrimp, or even chickpeas.
- Add more veggies: If you love adding lots of vegetables to your pasta dishes, try this with some extra veggies. Sauteed mushrooms, kale, zucchini, and cauliflower are all delicious with the spicy sauce.
- Add cheese: Pasta and cheese is a classic combination for a reason. Finish this dish some shredded Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions about making this pasta dish.
Both Arrabiatta and Amatriciana are spicy Italian tomato sauces made with garlic, chili, tomatoes, and olive oil. The main different is that Amatriciana sauce also has pancetta or bacon in the base.
Traditionally Arrabiata sauce is medium spiced. It should be spicy but not overwhelmingly spicy so it is difficult to eat. The great thing about making this sauce from scratch is that you can decide how to spicy to make it.
This recipe will work with almost any protein, including ground chicken, turkey, or beef. You can also make it with pork or chicken sausage. Just remember that if you make it without sausage, you will need to add some extra seasoning since the sausage brings a lot of flavor to the dish. This Italian sausage seasoning is a great option if you are using plain protein.
Sausage Arrabbiata Pasta with Spinach
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- 8 oz. high fiber pasta (or whole wheat)
- 3/4 lb. lean ground turkey sausage
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 4 cup spinach
- 1/4 cup basil
- Salt and pepper
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Add the olive oil to the pan over medium high heat. Once hot add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes begin to burst.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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